GREATER Northern Tiger Under 18 and 16 sides sealed Country Championship berths in Tamworth later this month with resounding semi final wins in Wollongong on Sunday – now it’s up to the senior side to complete the trifecta for Greater Northern by winning their semi final against North Coast in Wyong this Saturday.
The Darryl Rando-coached senior side set up their semi final chance with a gritty, dour and determined 12-6 win over Western Rams at Singleton two Saturday’s back.
All have had a weekend off to prepare.
Greater Northern regional manager, Scott Bone, said Sunday’s semi finals were outstanding and hopes the seniors can follow suit.
“Could be a really big weekend for us with three sides the four finals,” Bone said.
“Plus we have the reunion of the 1988 side that beat Great Britain at Scully Park too.”
He was in Wollongong and watched the two GN Tiger junior sides beat Sotuerhn Stingrays in their first round matches Saturday and then account for East Coast Dolphins in Sunday semi finals.
“Both sides played really well on the Saturday,” Bones said.
“The 18s were great defensively on Sunday and got up on the bell when Zac Faulkner scored late.
‘The 16s were fairly controlled Saturday and then played very well for Gary Jones on Sunday.
“Both sides appear to have come through unscathed.”
He said the senior side also appears to be unchanged for Saturday’s semi final against North Coast at Morrie Breen Oval, Wyong.
Injury concerns for Singleton backrower Brady Hammond and Greta Branxton prop Ben Murray have eased, he said with both likely to be 100 per cent for the semi final clash.
Having the seniors join the Under 16 and 18 sides in Tamworth on June 21 for the Country Championship Finals would ensure a good crowd.
He said the reunion of the 1988 Northern Division (now Greater Northern) side, which beat Great Britain 26-12 at Scully Park on June 5, 1988 would add some extra glitter to a weekend featuring the Tier 1 and 2 senior Country Championship Finals as well as the Under 16 and 18 Country Championship Finals.
There is also a touch of irony about the 1988 win too.
The Under 17 and 19 Northern Division sides played representative matches before the senior side’s English game, the first time that had happened in ND (now Greater Northern) history.
Could that be a pointer to the June 21 Country Championships with the GN Under 16 and 18 sides booking their spots last Sunday.
1988 NORTHERN DIVISION SIDE
1 Michael Spinks (West Tamworth), 2 Robert French (Aberdeen), 3 Mark Ryan (Moree), 4 Gary Gardner (Singleton), 5 Peter Platter (Inverell), 6 Rocky Laurie capt (Inverell), 7 Ewan McGrady (Moree), 8 Mark Cotter (West Tamworth), 9 Phil Masters (Scone), 10 David McCann (Gunnedah), 11 Garry Lavender (Inverell), 12 Chris Cumming (Aberdeen), 13 Mark Maynes (Gunnedah), 14 Greg McCormack (Muswellbrook), Bernie Briggs (Moree). Coach : Frank Fish (Narrabri).
NORTHERN DIVISION 36 (Ewan McGrady 2, Peter Platter, Chris Cumming, Mark Maynes tries, Peter Spinks 8gl) d GREAT BRITAIN 12 (Henderson Gill, Gary Schofield tries, Paul Loughlin 2gls).