Greater Northern Tigers under-16 players have plenty of incentive to do well in Andrew Johns Cup semi-final

Denman’s Daltyn McCartney kicks the Tigers under-16s off in a recent Andrew Johns Cup match. Pic: SCOTT BONE
Denman’s Daltyn McCartney kicks the Tigers under-16s off in a recent Andrew Johns Cup match. Pic: SCOTT BONE

NSW COUNTRY will take under-16 and under-18 teams to England later this year.

And, as many as five Greater Northern Tigers under-16s could be in line for a call-up.

That's the assessment of their coach, Muswellbrook's Steve Haylen, heading into Sunday's Andrew Johns Cup semi-final in Forster.

The young Tigers face unbeaten Western Rams in that NSW CRL Country Championship play-off at Harry Elliott Oval, Forster (11.20am kick-off).

But, Haylen believes his chargers could help their representative causes no end by beating the defending champions.

"As well as reaching the final, too," the Tigers mentor said.

"I have no doubt the further we go the more players we'll warrant making the side.

"It's going to be great a motivational thing for the boys.

"I think there are at least four or five of our lads on the borderline now."

While he didn't want to name names, he believes Scone second-rower Luke Smith is one of his key players.

"Luke doesn't get the accolades that a few others do but my stats man tells me he is one of our best workers," he said.

"Luke makes a good 20 tackles a game and 17 or 18 hit ups as well."

Haylen has named a near full-strength side but is waiting on talented Tamworth prop Mark Simon to overcome a knee injury.

Simon, a 16-year-old Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School student, has been named 18th man and will be given right up to kick-off to prove his fitness, Haylen confirmed.

"We'll run the gauntlet for Mark.

"We also have big Jordan Leota back," he said after announcing a "couple of slight changes".

"We've moved Denman's Daltyn McCartney back to fullback and Latrell Newman onto the wing.

"Campbell Watchirs also returns to the centres.

"We played him in the second-row against the Titans but I believe he plays his best in the centres.

"Everyone else is rearing to go.

"The Rams are going to be tough and we know they are going to be a big challenge but we might have something to unsettle them a bit."

He has one more training session scheduled at Forster on Saturday before Sunday's 11.20am kick-off against the Rams in their Andrew Johns Cup showdown.

The Northern Rivers Titans-Penrith Panthers under-16 clash starts at 10am with the Tigers and Rams going at it afterwards.

They are followed by the Laurie Daley Cup under-18 fixtures between Western Rams and Parramatta (12.40pm) and North Coast Bulldogs and Illawarra South Coast Dragons (2.10pm).

The senior men's (U23) and women's CRL Country Championships semi-finals will be played Saturday at Woy Woy Oval from 10am.

All games will be live-streamed courtesy of Bar TV Sports on the CRL's Facebook page.

GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS UNDER-16s

1 Daltyn McCartney (Denman), 2 Latrell Newman (Moree), 3 Hayden Bull (Scone), 4 Campbell Watchirs (Inverell), 5 Brayden Talbott-Hatch (Gunnedah), 6 Ethan Antzakles (Farrer), 7 Pichai Dixon (Aberdeen), 8 Mark Simon (Farrer), 9 Riley Reid (Dungowan), 10 Jeffrey Harvey (Narrabri), 11 Jock Brazel capt (Moree), 12 Luke Smith (Scone), 13 Sam Fechner (Scone), 14 Blake Johnston (Scone), 15 Lachlan Smith (Farrer), 17 Ryan Kelly-Payne (Gunnedah), 18 Nicholas Laurie (Scone), 20 Jordan Leota (Dungowan). Coach - Steve Haylen; manager - Mick Schmiedel; trainers - (yellow) Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, (blue) Anthony Cubillo, (orange) Daniel Swan

WESTERN RAMS

1 Braye Porter (St Johns Dubbo), 2 Mitchel Wilson (Wellington), 3 Josh Belfanti (Bathurst St Pats), 4 Zac Williams (St Johns Dubbo), 5 Brandon Hamilton (South Dubbo), 6 Kyle Mawhinney (Parkes Marist), 7 Cooper Egan (Lithgow), 8 Jackson Gersbach (Cabonne), 9 Fletcher Haycock (St Johns Dubbo), 10 Bill Statham (Cowra), 11 Aston Warwick (South Dubbo), 12 Matthew Noakes (Red Bend), 13 Finnley Neilsen capt (Parkes Marist), 14 Riley Wake (St Johns Dubbo), 15 Jesse Shorter (Red Bend), 16 John Mackay (Bathurst Panthers), 17 Sam Raumati (Red Bend), 18 Kaeden Dickson (Orange CYMS). Coach - Tony Woolnough