GREATER Northern Academy Cubs and Tigers squads finished their season with impressive wins over their North Coast and Northern River counterparts in Tamworth on Saturday.
The Cubs enjoyed a a 24-4 win over North Coast at Jack Woolaston Oval, Saturday morning and then beat Northern Rivers 32-8 at Scully Park in the late afternoon as a curtain- raiser to the NRL trial between Newcastle and Canberra.
The Tigers defeated North Coast 24-nil at at Jack Woolaston Oval and then moved across the Peel to beat Northern Rivers 28-8 in the afternoon.
The GNA teams had played Newcastle Knight squads the week before and GNA head coach Peter Stevens was pleased to see some improvement again.
“There was a little bit more improvement again this week,” he said after the 24-4 win over North Coast at Jack Woolaston Oval.
“We played with good shape.
“It was good for us (coaches) to sit back and watch them play like that.
“They put everything we had been coaching into practice.
“The effort was great.”
Matt Kenny coached the older Tigers squad and he was delighted with the turnaround after losing to the Knights the week before.
“We didn’t play well down there,” Kenny said.
“But before we played we went through a video of that game and came up with a few small things to do.
“The video showed up a few things the boys worked on.
“They just played the program – that was good.”
He thought Zac Faulkner was outstanding while Cory Manicaros played well at hooker and lock while fullback Jed Smith also impressed.
“They have put in a lot of hard work,” Kenny said.
“They’ve been coming here (to Tamworth) since October.”
GNA operations manager Scott Bone said the Cubs had struggled early but blossomed late for a good win over Northern Rivers.
Hayden Loughrey was one of their best.
Then the Tigers were “a little flat” in their success against Northern Rivers as the main curtainraiser to the Knights and Raiders.
“They played with good shape though and scored eight tries to two.
“It was a real good finish for them all.
“The improvement in the boys has been immense.”
Someone like Jordan Symington had benefited immensely from the program, he said.
“Hopefully they take it all back to their clubs and schools,” he said.
“That’s what the program is all about – a stepping stone for them in the CRL.
“Now they have to make their Group sides and come back here on May 17 for the Greater Northern Trials.”
Groups 4,19 and 21 send Under 16, 18 and senior sides to Tamworth for the championships from which the GN sides for the Country Championships will be selected.