GREATER Northern Tigers Under 18s have a tough first-up clash in Wollongong tomorrow when they play Southern Stingrays in their first-round clash.
The Matt Parsons-coached Tigers tackle the defending champions in their 11am game.
While they present a major obstacle, Parsons said his and the team’s focus is on how they play.
“We’ll be worrying about our own dunghill,” Parsons said yesterday.
“We’ve got a good team.
“A lot of them were in the 16s who made the final last year.
“They didn’t play well last year so it’s up to them to put their best foot forward.
“They are a good bunch of kids.
“A lot of them are bottom-age kids so it means the older kids – Mitch Doring, Callum Hayne – have to have a real good go.”
He’s had one session with his side and was impressed with their effort at that camp.
“They sponged up everything I said and then went out and did it. I hardly had to say a word,” the former Newcastle Knights NRL prop said.
Parsons loves his coaching post – being able to spend time around the young men and help guide them is a pleasure.
He’s particularly impressed by the likes of Zac Faulkner and Sam Sadler.
“Zac’s a tough kid – the first one into battle for you,” he said.
“He’ll be carrying the pack forward.”
While Faulkner is a spearhead, Narrabri Blue first grader Sam Sadler is a workaholic.
“He’s very easy to coach,” Parsons said.
He’s uncomplicated, tough and just goes out and plays hard, he said of the Wee Waa youngster who plays with Narrabri because his Wee Waa Panthers don’t have an Under 18 side.
Sadler was also one of the best players for the Blues in their first grade win over Oxley Diggers last Sunday and is just one of many in Parsons’ Under 18 Tigers who play first grade for their clubs, joining the likes of Doring (West Lions), Hayne (North Tamworth) and Jordan Press (Uralla).
Greater Northern Under 18s play Southern Stingrays in their first-round NSW Country Under 18 Championship at 11.50am tomorrow on Sid Parrish Park, at Unanderra.
The Gary Jones-coached Greater Northern Under 16s also play Southern Stingrays in their first-round Country Under 16 Championship match at 1.15pm tomorrow on the Collegian Sporting Complex at Figtree.