SCONE welcomed two new backrowers to the club in winning fashion on Sunday when the Thoroughbreds started their 2012 A Plus Contracting Group 21 premiership with a 24-point win over Muswellbrook.
The Daniel Ritter-coached Thoroughbreds overcame some ordinary ball control to post a 36-12 win.
“It was good to get a win first up,” Ritter said.
“But our ball control was pretty ordinary, especially in the first half.
“We gave them a lot of ball and had to do a lot of defending. That was one of the most pleasing aspects though, the amount of ball we gave, we did pretty well to keep them to 12.
“That was a real good effort and showed our fitness levels aren’t too bad.”
Prop James Barker led the way again.
He was one of the most consistent performers last season and was back at it straight away but he also had some strong support from the likes of Matt Finlayson and Wes Suckley.
The two backrowers are new to the club this season and will be valuable additions, Ritter said.
“Matt’s come from Forster, goes pretty good and scored two tries too. Wes will be good too.”
The Thoroughbreds have lost three of last year’s side, Dane Thorogood going to Kurri, Josh Bell returning to Newcastle and Brett Firman in the process of moving back to Sydney.
It means Jake Watts will play halfback, with Justin Apthorpe – who had his season disrupted by a broken arm last season – moving from the centres to five-eighth.
“He was one of our standouts there too,” Ritter said of the new number six.
His side now prepares to play Aberdeen at Scone Park this Sunday while Muswellbrook hosts Denman Devils at home on Saturday evening and reigning premiers Greta Branxton Colts have Singleton Greyhounds in a local derby.
Aberdeen will offer a major challenge too, Daniel Ritter said of the imminent Tiger test.
“They beat us in the Scanlon Shield pre-season,” he said.
G21 FIRST GRADE: Greta Branxton 30 d Aberdeen 16, Denman 36 d Singleton 20, Scone 36 d Muswellbrook 12.
SECOND GRADE: Greta Branxton 28 d Aberdeen 18, Muswellbrook 18 d Merriwa 16, Murrurundi 24 d Scone 22, Singleton 32 d Denman 28.
LADIES LEAGUE TAG: Aberdeen 24 d Greta Branxton 10, Muswellbrook 40 d Merriwa 4, Scone 30 d Murrurundi 0, Singleton 50 d Denman 4.
UNDER 18: Denman 16 drew with Singleton 16, Muswellbrook 26 d Scone 4, Greta Branxton bye.
THIS WEEK: Saturday, April 5 - Muswellbrook v Denman (5.15pm Olympic Park, Muswellbrook). Sunday, April 6 - Greta Branxton v Singleton (2.15pm Greta Oval), Scone v Aberdeen (2.15pm Scone Park).