Group 21 plunders the north

GROUP 21 won the Jim Sharpe Cup at the Greater Northern Championships at Scully Park in Tamworth on Saturday by teamwork.

Aberdeen's Marcus Marsh halts North Tamworth Bear Marshall Barker's run in Group 21's 44-4 win at Scully Park Saturday. Both players were later named in the GN senior side. Photo: Barry Smith. 170514BSH17

Aberdeen's Marcus Marsh halts North Tamworth Bear Marshall Barker's run in Group 21's 44-4 win at Scully Park Saturday. Both players were later named in the GN senior side. Photo: Barry Smith. 170514BSH17

And Group 21 coach Darryl Rando is certain the Greater Northern senior side can only progress in the Tier 2 Country Championships by utilising the same formula after Group 21 dominated Saturday’s GNC.

Group 21 beat Group 19 28-16 in their first match and then whipped Group 4 by 44-4 in their second match to claim a second successive Jim Sharpe Cup and then celebrated the selection of 13 Group 21 players in the Greater Northern squad to play Western at Singleton’s ResCo Park on May 31. 

“It’s a well balanced side,” Darryl Rando said Saturday night.

“There’s a lot of flexibility there.

“It’s not the biggest side but if we play smart enough we can overcome that.

“There are plenty of match winners in the side but the biggest thing will be to play as a team. If we can do that we’ll be right.”

He thought Aberdeen prop Marcus Marsh was one of his Group 21 side’s best and was delighted the “non-stop worker” won a berth in the Greater Northern senior side.

He said Scone lock Daniel Ritter will be his captain and while selectors named a squad from one to 18 they might not play in those numbers.

“We’ll see,” Rando said of a planned training run on Tuesday week.

“There could be a few changes as to who starts and who comes off the bench. But we’ll look at that.”

He said the kicking game of Greta Branxton halfback Joey Griffiths will be a key as well as Griffith’s deft passing game.

He said the versatility of players such as Scone centre/five-eighth Justin Apthorpe, Denman backrower/prop Ben Hagan and Greta Branxton second rower Brady Hammond is a feature of the side.

Earlier his Group 21 side had withstood a determined Group 19 to win their opening game by 12 points after Group 19 had hit back from a 10-nil deficit to lead 12-10 midway through the first half of their clash.

However Group 21 replied with some fine attacking moves of its own to lead 22-12 at the break and control a second half where Group 19’s discipline disintegrated.

One of the Group 19’s best, Mundarra Weldon, was sent off from the bench by referee James Brown for repeated offensive remarks before prop Warren Cain and five-eighth Rick Roberts were both sent off.

Cain was originally sin-binned for a tackle on young Group 21 winger Joe Adams that left the Scone teenager concussed.

Cain was sin-binned but then abused the referee and was sent off.

Rick Roberts was then sent off after attacking the head of Group 21 fullback Tim Smith with a flurry of punches.

Both Cain and Roberts faced the GN Judiciary with Roberts receiving a severe caution and Cain suspended for one match, which he served in Group 19’s 52-26 romp against Group 4 on Saturday evening.

All three Moree Boomerangs were right to play against Goondiwindi Boars in yesterday’s Group 19 clash.

Group 21 also won the Under 16 John O’Halloran Shield while Jordan Press’ brilliant late long range try enabled Group 19 to snare a 24-22 win over Group 4 in a high quality Under 18 clash and claim the Brazier Shield.

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