GRETA Branxton Colts went some of the way to exorcising the demons of last year’s grand final loss to Denman Devils when they returned to Denman Oval to win their first meeting of the new A Plus Contracting Group 21 season on Sunday.
The Ron Griffiths-coached Colts trailed the Devils all day but finished strongly to beat Denman 26-20.
Last year the Devils had a 20-4 grand final win at Denman Oval but couldn’t produce that dominating form when it counted on Sunday.
“They led for the majority of the game too,” Griffiths said of the Devils.
“And we did have one player in the sin bin for 10 minutes at one stage.
“But our defensive resolve was great.
“We defended plenty of sets on our line.”
While the defence was inspiring, the control wasn’t.
“We couldn’t complete our sets of six,” Griffiths said.
“Last week the completion rate was 42 per cent.
“This week it was a little better at about 55 per cent.
“But it’s still not good enough and a testament to how good our defence was for long periods.”
Hooker Daniel Bates was outstanding along with rangy second-rower Chris Mackay and fullback Andrew Roberts.
“We’ve leapfrogged Denman into second now,” Griffiths said after the win.
“Now we’ve got Muswellbrook after Easter.
“That’ll be for the Scanlon Shield too so it’s an important game for us.
“We won the Scanlon Shield (pre-season competition) last year and hosted it this year and want to do that again.”
Group 21 clubs play their pre-season matches in the Scanlon Shield.
The competition is such that the finalists are decided in the pre-season competition but the final is played in conjunction with the first- round premiership match between the two sides.
Winner of the Scanlon Shield then hosts the Scanlon Shield pre-season tournament the following season.
It’s a unique but successful formula.
In other games over the weekend, Scone beat Singleton 22-6 at Singleton to remain undefeated while Aberdeen and Muswellbrook played a 32-all draw.
Scone and Denman will match up on Sunday, April 27 while Aberdeen and Singleton play the Saturday evening game at McKinnon Field, Aberdeen on April 26.
G21 TABLE: Scone 6, Greta Branxton 4, Denman 3, Muswellbrook 2, Aberdeen 1, Singleton.