TWO huge top-of-the-table clashes highlight the Greater Northern Regional rugby league landscape weekend where the GN Tigers are tackling Western Rams in their Tier 2 Country Championship match at Singleton’s ResCo Park tomorrow.
While the Tigers host the Rams in a game kicking off at 12.45pm, Moree Boomerangs head to Glen Innes tomorrow to tackle the Glen Innes Magpies in their Group 19 clash while North Tamworth Bears and Gunnedah Bulldogs match up in a night game at Kitchener Park, Gunnedah.
Gunnedah and North Tamworth are unbeaten so far in Group 4 and match up in a game timed to kick off at 6pm.
Greater Northern Tigers prop Marshall Barker hopes to make the drive back from Singleton in time to run on for the Bears side he skippers.
“It’s a big day but I want to play,” Barker said at Tuesday night’s Greater Northern training session.
“I should be right as long as I pull up all right.”
Tomorrow night’s game at Kitchener Park previews a big double header at Scully Park on Sunday for the Oxley Diggers-Narrabri and West Lions- Wee Waa club games.
The day starts at 9am with the two Ladies League Tag games on Scully 1, followed by second grade games from 11am and 12.30pm with the Oxley Diggers-Narrabri match kicking off at 2pm and the West Lions-Wee Waa game from 3.30pm.
At Kerry Mead Park in Glen Innes, the home side Magpies are preparing for a Boomerang invasion.
After the Boomerangs scored a big 58-30 local derby win over Moree Boars in a game that generated a huge crowd last Saturday, the Magpies are prepared for a big crowd to witness a contest between unbeaten Glen Innes Innes and last year’s Group 19 premiers.
In other games, Moree Boars host Armidale Rams, Uralla Tigers go to Gilbert Oval, Goondiwindi and Inverell Hawks have a Varley Oval home game against Ashford Roosters.
In Group 21, Muswellbrook is at home to Aberdeen at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook tomorrow evening (5.15pm kickoff).
The Rams will be hoping Daley Boney comes through that match to be a part of Josh Pearsol’s improving pack.
The Sunday games have Scone at home to a Singleton side that could contain Greater Northern Tiger centre Luke Gardner and second- rower Brady Hammond if they come through tomorrow’s Country Championship game.
Scone has five of its own involved in that Tier 2 Country Championship match – captain-coach Daniel Ritter, fullback Tim Smith, wingers Joel Harrison and Josh Adams and centre Justin Apthorpe.
The Greta Branxton Colts also have Daniel Bates, Joey Griffiths and Ben Murray lining up for the Tigers as well as the Colts in their big home game against Denman Devils.
Ben Hagan has to back up from the Western Rams game to lead the way for his Devils, who slumped in the second half of their loss to Muswellbrook Rams last Sunday.
The reigning premiers have their premiership defence credentials under a blowtorch for Blake Dureau and his side.
Both Sunday games are timed for 2.15pm kickoffs.
Werris Creek’s Group 4 Second Division premiership aspirations also face a Kootingal Oval test tomorrow when the Magpies head to Kootingal Oval to tackle the rampant Roosters.
They received a little “Tiger tuition” this week too before tackling the unbeaten Roosters after they had a quick “opposed” session against the Greater Northern Tigers at David Taylor Park on Tuesday night.
They shared David Taylor Park with the GN Tigers and then gave them a defensive line to run their plays against.
The Creek sit equal fourth with the Walcha Roos.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” veteran Magpie coach Ron Dellar said while watching his side defend against the Greater Northern attackers.
“This is good for us. It’s going to be hard up there (Kooty Oval).
With the likes of 42-year-old Stewart Porter leading the way, the young Creek players such as Zac Darcy, Thomas Brown, Peter Johnson and Cody Tickle relished the Tiger tackling.
Dellar’s hopeful his side can kick on from that and ignite its season with a win over a Nathan Hamlin-coached Roosters who have been building ominously.
In other G4 Second Division games, Manilla hosts Boggabri and Walcha travels down to Bendemeer.