JIE Smith is one of the Gunnedah Bulldogs’ trump attacking cards.
In one small explosion last Sunday, the 23-year-old centre showed his quick feet to dance through a wall of Oxley Diggers defenders to score a simple but brilliant four-pointer.
It was part of a strong game for the Bulldogs and their 66-30 win that kept his side second on the Group 4 ladder and earned him the three points in The Northern Daily Leader-sponsored Group 4 Player of the Year Award.
Smith was delighted and a little stunned when told he’d polled the top points from the officials.
He was also sure his side could improve greatly on Sunday’s effort at Scully Park.
“We were a bit rusty today,” he said.
“We’ve got to learn to be patient.”
Ironically, Smith has just snagged a job building trusses in Tamworth.
“I started last week,” he said.
Full-time employment is a relief for the young backline star who is waiting for his younger brother, DJ, to return from a fractured ankle so they can rekindle their backline blitzes although hooker Tyler Flemming has been doing a good job of linking the backs and forwards in his new role.
Smith’s first points in the Group 4 Player of the Year award leaves him five points behind teammate Trent Hilton, who polled the two points in Sunday’s win.
The Bulldogs play Wee Waa Panthers at home this Sunday while Narrabri hosts West Lions and North Tamworth Bears are at home to Oxley Diggers.
Like Smith, Narrabri’s Jake Rumsby polled his first points of the G4 Player of the Year Award last Sunday.
Rumsby had 20 tackles and 22 hit-ups in the 46-26 local derby win at Wee Waa where Brenton Cochrane polled the two points and Normie Lawler the one.
Nic Dobson earned the referee’s three points in North Tamworth’s 50-20 win over West Lions, with teammate Marshall Barker grabbing the two and teenaged West fullback Mitch Doring, who runs out for Greater Northern Under 18s in their Country Championship Final at Scully Park on Saturday, the one.
It’s a big weekend for local rugby league, with the Country Championships at Scully Park on Saturday and then the week-long Australian Under 15 Schoolboy Championships starting at Scully on Sunday.
A number of the GN Under 18s were on show in Sydney yesterday when Farrer played Hills Sports High in a Schoolboy Cup game.
Farrer led 10-8 with a try six minutes from fulltime but was beaten 14-10 when its hosts scored a converted try with a minute left.