GREATER Northern lock and skipper Daniel Ritter expects nothing but a hugely challenging Tier 2 Country Championship semi-final against North Coast in Wyong on Saturday as part of a testing weekend for him and his Scone teammates in the Tigers’ lineup.
Not only will the outstanding and former Country lock lead the Greater Northern Tigers into semi-final battle at Morrie Breen Oval on Saturday but his unbeaten Scone Thoroughbreds play reigning premiers Denman Devils at Denman Oval on Sunday.
“It’s a big weekend,” the easy-going builder said.
“Wyong Saturday and then Denman Sunday.”
Having last weekend off was a chance to recharge the footballing batteries for him and the Greater Northern Tigers, especially the Thoroughbred Tiger contingent – Ritter, star fullback Tim Smith, wingers Joel Harrison and Josh Adams and centre Justin Apthorpe.
Ritter said the 12-8 Tiger win over Western Rams at Singleton’s ResCo Park was “a tough game”.
“We did have three tries disallowed. More a fault of our own than anything.
“But the boys dug in and the class probably got us home.
“The defence was outstanding too but we do have a lot to improve on.
“We’ve only had the two training runs together so far and we’re lacking a bit in cohesion.”
He said young Greta Branxton backrower, Brady Hammond, had been a bonus, playing well “especially running off Joey (Griffiths).”
“But Ben Hagan was outstanding at Singleton.
“He’s always in the game.
“But everyone is playing well.”
Ironically, Hagan will be Scone’s biggest obstacle on Sunday in the Group 21 clash at Denman Oval.
Hagan has been a mainstay of the Devils and instrumental in last year’s grand final win at Denman Oval over Greta Branxton.
The Blake Dureau-skippered Denman Devils sit third on the first grade ladder with some talented youngster underpinning their title defence.
Scone has also built up, with the likes of Wes Suckley and Matt Finlayson huge additions to their packs.
Ritter is also injury-free and playing the sort of football that earned him a Country number 13 jumper.
“Matt has been a great pick- up for us this season,” Ritter said.
“He’s been great in the middle for us.
“Tim Smith has been going real well.
“You see some of the things he does and you still don’t believe it.
“And moving Justin (Apthorpe) to five-eighth has been a great move for us.
“He’s playing well in the centres for the Tigers but he’s going real well at six for us.”