MICK Watton has played for both North Tamworth and West Lions and has won a premiership with the Lions.
Tomorrow he believes he can help the North Tamworth Bears win a Wests Cup Group 4 first grade premiership.
He was at the poorly-attended Group 4 presentation night at Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club on Wednesday.
The former Coonabarabran junior star finished second on the pointscoring list to Wee Waa’s Josh Trindall.
Watton scored 180 points during the regular season but Trindall amassed 208, from seven tries and 90 goals.
Trindall and his Wee Waa Panthers were booted out of the premiership race by Watton and his Bears last Sunday.
Watton’s hoping to do the same again tomorrow.
“I think we’ve been the form team too,” Watton said on Wednesday night.
“We’ve had a good run.
“I think we’ve got a better all round squad than Wests too.
“And we’ve got these good young blokes.”
The 28-year-old Watton, who has won three first grade premierships with West and one with Coona, was talking about the Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School trio of Dylan Manicaros, Jake Cocking and Callum Hayne.
A number of the Farrer First XIII are dotted through the Bear junior ranks as well and some have filled in in coach Brad McManus’s first grade side at various times too.
However Manicaros, Hayne and Cocking have become integral parts of the Bears.
McManus lights up in a big smile when asked about the “Farrer kids”.
“They bring a lot to the the team,” he said.
“Everyone feels five or six years younger with them around.
“Young Callum turned the game at Wee Waa for us,” he said.
“Jake’s just a machine. They (Wee Waa) had a good pack and he took it to them all game.
“And Dylan’s just a natural. The best thing we’ve done was moving him to lock and pushing Chinny (Shane Wadwell) into the second row.”
Indeed Manicaros looks to be an exciting prospect, a ball- running lock or backrower the NRL would love to have and add another 10 to 20 kilograms of muscle to his lanky frame.
Manicaros, Hayne and Cocking also have another big game next week.
They head to Sydney and Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah for Friday’s Uni Shield Final against Bathurst High.
Everyone wishes them a safe run through tomorrow’s grand final, along with their Farrer teammates in the junior grades.
Northern Daily Leader Group 4 Player of the Year Marshall Barker echoed those comments after receiving the prestigious award.
“They go good, aren’t they,” Barker said.
“Dylan is all class.
“Jake is like a little ball, just keeps rolling along and Callum can score a try.
“Pushing Chinny up into the second row and fitting Dylan in has been good for us.
“But if our forwards can control there we’ll get around them.”
McManus describes Barker as the buy of the year.
His work rate in the middle, in attack and defence, has been outstanding and a reason why he polled so well in the Player of the Year Award.
Watton’s kicking game is another factor why the Bears are chasing a grand final
“It’s been like that for 100 years,” McManus said of his chief playmaker.
“He’s been able to put the ball on a dime for as long as I can ever remember.”
That started at Coona, was enhanced at West and now seen in its full glory at Norths.
Watton can also score a try, as he reminded Narrabri when he crossed for two brilliant efforts in the first half of the minor semi at Jack Woolaston Oval.
And the recent form of lanky centre Brad Marshall and Wadwell suggests they are up for big games.
Wadwell scored three tries and a love bite last week against Wee Waa and will be antagonising West Lions with his jinky running and gamesmanship.
“I’m just excited to have another crack at them,” McManus said. “I just feel really good about this game.”