GARRY “Bomber” Jones and Mark Wilton were were interested observers when the Greater Northern Academy completed its development program in Tamworth last Saturday.
They pair will coach the Greater Northern Under 16s again this season and were on hand to watch the GNA Cubs and Tiger squads tackle North Coast and Northern Rivers academy sides at Jack Woolaston Oval and Scully Park.
What they saw was some impressive efforts from the two GNA squads.
The Cubs and Tigers won both their games, the Cubs beating North Coast at Jack Woolaston 28-4 and Northern Rivers at Scully Park 32-8 while Tigers beat North Coast 24-nil and Northern Rivers 28-8.
Many of the Cubs will be in contention for the Greater Northern Under 16s Jones and Wilton will prepare for a tilt at a Country Championships where they were pipped by Bidgee Bulls in last year’s final in Dubbo.
“We had a good side,” Jones said.
“Five of that side made the Country Under 16 side.
“And all of them will be eligible to play 18s this year.”
He and Wilton believe many of the GNA Tigers and Cubs will filter through to their Group 4, 19 and 21 sides to play in the May 17 Greater Northern Championships at Scully Park.
Their development programs at the GNA will only help them improve and make the group and ultimately, Greater Northern, sides stronger.
They will coach the GN Under 16s while Werris Creek’s Matt Parsons, the former Newcastle Knight prop, will coach the GN under 18s.
However, being a part of the GNA Cubs and Tigers won’t guarantee a spot in the GN junior sides, they said.
“There are a lot of good kids coming through in this area,” Jones said.
While the GNA program prepared around 40 young players for big 2014 seasons, Group 4 is still seeking coaches for its senior teams.
While Brad McManus has been appointed Group 4 Under 18 coach, there were no applications for the Group 4 First and Second Division representative sides.
Group 4 secretary Mick Schmiedel said applicants, who must have a Level 1 Coaching certificate at the least, can send their applications to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 1028 Tamworth.
GREATER NORTHERN ACADEMY CUBS 28 (Lachlan Walmsley, Brayden Jerrard, Hayden Loughrey, Josh Bermingham, Brad Collett, Phillip Quinlan tries) d NORTH COAST ACADEMY 4 (Bailey Farr try) GREATER NORTHERN CUBS 32 (Hayden Loughrey 2, Marcus Hayne 2, Lachlan Walmsley, Jack Jeffery, Phillip Quinlan, Cameron Howard) d NORTHERN RIVERS ACADEMY 8 (Jayden Grealy, Callum Jones)
GREATER NORTHERN ACADEMY TIGERS 24 (Tye Walklate 2, Tom Say, Ryan Horton, Greg Press, Isaac Laird tries) def NORTH COAST ACADEMY 0. GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS 28 (Zac Faulkner 3, Tye Barry 2, Corey Manicaros, Tye Walklate) d NORTHERN RIVERS ACADEMY 8 (Adam Russell 2 tries)