DARRYL Rando has a simple coaching philosophy – play as a team and win as a team.
That’s what he asked for from his Group 21 senior side at last Saturday’s Greater Northern Regional Rugby League Championships in Tamworth and that’s what he got.
Rando, team manager Simon Walmsley and trainers Heath Moore and Dave Madden had assembled their side in Tamworth on the Friday afternoon.
A brief training run at Gipps Street on Friday afternoon to run through a few basic plays and then a team bonding session over a few refreshments and dinner at a Tamworth hotel on Friday night capped it off.
Rando didn’t mind the fact his players had a few beers, as long as it was all together in a safe environment, although a few dramas there from some local troublemakers livened up their entertainment.
The G21 side looked on somewhat stunned but thankfully that didn’t spill over into any player or official.
And it added a touch of spice to a weekend that ramped up with Saturday’s matches against Group 19 and Group 4.
After leading 10-nil against Group 19, they were stunned again when Group 19 scored twice to lead 12-10.
However, the side fought back to win 28-16 with some brilliant tries.
The side then easily accounted for Group 4 44-4 to win the Jim Sharpe Cup for the second successive year.
“It was a good team effort,” Rando said after the two games.
“Everyone did their job and that enabled these brilliant backs to score some good tries.
“The more you play as a team in these games the easier it is and the more opportunity you have of making rep sides.”
That was borne out by the fact Group 21 had 13 players named in the Greater Northern Tigers squad to play Western at Singleton’s ResCo Park on Saturday week.
It was highlighted by one outstanding play from Greta Branxton prop Ben Murray.
Group 21 led Group 4 44-nil late in the second half.
Group 21 halfback Joey Griffiths puts up a bomb on the Group 4 line. The ball eludes everyone bar Narrabri and Group 4 fullback Lachlan Cameron. He gathers the bouncing ball and has a clear run.
Group 21 prop Ben Murray is the closest, maybe 10m away, and sets off in pursuit.
He doesn’t give in even when Cameron is 10m ahead and heading for the tryline.
At halfway, Murray senses something and digs deeper.
Whether it’s not allowing Cameron to score an easy try or not, Murray really starts to push some tired legs and closes in on Cameron.
About 10m out Murray not only tackles Cameron but forces him into touch.
It is the play of the day, a massive reason why Group 21 had triumphed.
Individual resolve for the good of the team.
Even though the game was easily won, the feeling of keeping the other side to nil was paramount.
After the scrum Murray then makes a hit-up three tackles later as well.
Group 4 does manage to pot a try though when Aaron Donnelly crosses wide out.
44-4 is the final score.
Murray’s tackle goes a long way to earning him a spot in the Greater Northern team.