Greater Northern Tigers under-23s hoping to maintain momentum in CRL Country Championships at Armidale

THE Greater Northern Tigers are hoping for some home “roars” when they host the Northern Rivers Titans in four CRL Country Championship matches in Armidale on Saturday.

The Tigers were beaten in three of the four fixtures at Geoff King Motors Oval by the North Coast Bulldogs last weekend and will be hoping for a better scoreboard when they tackle the Titans.

Only the Greater Northern under-23s prevailed, a 26-20 win over the Bulldogs, their maiden Country Championship triumph since the format was changed.

“Yeah, the first time we’ve won a game since the 23s have been up and running,” confirmed Tigers coach Peter Stevens.

“We were a bit clunky early, should have won by more than we did.

“We bombed a couple of good chances and a couple of passes went astray.”

He thought props Isaac Austin and James Ballinger “led from the front” while hooker Matt Gillham also played well, with fullback Will Nieuwenhuise impressing and earning the players’ player award.

“We didn’t have a bad player,” Stevens said.

“They all did their job and there will be two or three better off for the run, too.”

That win presents the side with an opportunity to play in the semi-finals if they beat the Titans.

But, the Tigers under-18s, which Stevens also coaches, were beaten 34-12 in their fourth round Laurie Daley Cup match.

“They were off the pace, however it was a game they could have won,” he said.

“We were a little flat and North Coast played a different style we hadn’t seen, a lot of running from dummy half and a lot of sideways movement.

“The three hard games we’d had caught up with them.

“We’re out now, so hopefully we can give some of the boys who have been in this squad the past couple of years a good send off.”

The Steve Haylen-coached under-16s suffered their first defeat in the Andrew Johns Cup when beaten 26-12 while the Mick Schmiedel-mentored women faltered 22-0.

“That scoreline didn’t reflect how close the game was,” he said.

“We kept ourselves in the game with our defence.

“They worked really hard but missed a couple of early opportunities.

“If we had taken those it would have changed the momentum of the game.

“I wasn’t disappointed.

“We only needed to be 10 to 15 per cent better and we win that.”

He thought Merriwa’s Jessyca Morgan was best for the Tigers with Taylah Blackadder (Merriwa), Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi) and Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook) also good.

Greater Northern Tigers teams

Under-16s (Kick off 10am): 1 Latrell Newman (Moree), 2 Daltyn McCartney (Denman), 3 Campbell Watchirs (Inverell), 4 Blake Johnston (Scone), 5 Brayden Talbott-Hatch (Gunnedah), 6 Ethan Antzakles (Farrer), 7 Pichai Dixon (Aberdeen), 8 Mark Simon (Farrer), 9 Sam Fechner (Scone), 10 Ryan Kelly-Payne (Gunnedah), 11 Hayden Bull (Scone), 12 Luke Smith (Scone), 13 Jock Brazel (c -Moree), 14 Riley Reid (Dungowan), 15 Lachlan Smith (Farrer), 17 Jeffrey Harvey (Narrabri), 18 Nicholas Laurie (Scone), 21 Clint Aitken (Dungowan). Coach - Steve Haylen

Under-18s (Kick off 11.20am): 1 Brayden Reid (North Tamworth), 2 Mackenzie Shepherdson (Denman), 3 Jhett Butler (Dungowan), 4 Blair Maloney (Dungowan), 5 Harrison Freeman (Dungowan), 6 Trent Taylor (Dungowan), 7 Steven Dengate (Muswellbrook), 8 Kalab McMillian-Bassett (Narrabri), 9 Clay Frendin (Dungowan), 10 Jack Todd (Dungowan), 11 Cooper Harris (Dungowan), 12 Sam Wentworth (c -Dungowan), 13 Kobe Bone (North Tamworth), 14 Daniel Kelly (North Tamworth), 15 Zak Turnbull (Gunnedah), 16 Hugh Collins (Aberdeen), 17 Bailey Miller-Freebairn (Aberdeen), 22 Blake Ginman (Dungowan). Coach - Peter Stevens

Women (Kick off 12.50pm): 1 Taneika Landsborough (Guyra), 2 Grace Gallen (Scone), 3 Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi), 4 Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook), 5 Alyce Walsh (Uralla), 6 Amy Barraclough(c -Uralla), 7 Joan O’Leary (Bendemeer), 8 Jessyca Morgan (Merriwa), 9 Robyn Broadbent (Uralla), 10 Amelia Tunamena (Glen Innes), 11 Brooke O’Halloran (Uralla), 12 Lauren Clarke (Boggabri), 13 Brooke Davis (Greta Branxton), 14 Taylah Blackadder (Merriwa), 15 Sarah Byrne (Glen Innes), 16 Gaynor Blackadder (Merriwa), 18 Alisa Tunamena (Glen Innes), 19. Zoe Darlington (South West Robins). Coach - Mick Schmiedel

Under-23 men (Kick off 2pm): 1 Will Nieuwenhuise (Singleton), 2 Cameron French (Aberdeen), 3 Hamish Wolfgang (Aberdeen), 4 Tristan Ward (Moree Boomerangs), 5 Dewayne Nicholls (Moree Boomerangs), 6 James Bradley (Singleton), 7 Mitchell Doring (c -Manilla), 8 Isaac Austin (Scone), 9. Matt Gillham (Boggabri), 10 James Ballinger (Inverell), 11 Jordan Mulherin (Denman), 12 Brady Benkovic (Denman), 13 Andrew Pritchard (Denman), 14 Mitchell Sheridan (North Tamworth), 15 Scott McIntyre (Armidale Rams), 16 Hayden Smith (Gunnedah), 18 Harry Douglass (Aberdeen), 19 Lincon Smith (Gunnedah). Coach - Peter Stevens