THIS year’s Group 4 side will benefit from having some new blood according to Bears skipper and leader of the pack, Marshall Barker.
Barker is excited to once again be in the squad to play in the Greater Northern Championships at Scully Park in a fortnight.
Last season’s Northern Daily Leader Group 4 Player of The Year said this year’s Group 4 side looks like the best he has seen for a while.
“I haven’t seen the Narrabri boys play yet,” Barker said.
“I have heard that they are pretty good and it is good to have some fresh blood.
“I think this year the Group side has actually been picked on merit and form and we can get Group 4 back on the map.”
Barker thinks that Narrabri half back Justin Knight can bring something special to the team this year.
Knight polled three points last week in Narrabri’s win over Wee Waa and will join captain Chris Hunt in the playmaking roles.
“He has good blood in him,” Barker said.
“His old man was a good player and he knows the game well.”
Former Bear then Boar and now back to Bear again Abel Carney has also been named on the bench in the squad.
Carney has shone for the Bears in the first two games this season and has impressed coach Brad McManus.
He scored 40 points in last Saturday’s demolition of Oxley Diggers.
“He (Carney) was a junior with us and it is great to have him back,” McManus said.
“With Mick Watton leaving us this year, Abel is forming a good combination with Kieran (Fisher) in the halves.”
Carney played for the Group last year and said it is always good to get a look in.
The squad got beaten by both Group 19 and Group 21 last year, although the pivot believes they will be more competitive this season.
“Group 19 will be really quick and Group 21 are always good,” Carney said.
“We will need to be really tight in defence this year.
“I think that our defence could win it.”
Fellow Bears Shane Wadwell, Shaun Ferguson and Nic Dobson are also in the Group side.
The Greater Northern Championships will be held at Scully Park on Saturday May 17.