GREATER Northern celebrated one of its great footballing days at Scully Park on Saturday when its Under 16 and 18 Tiger teams won AAMI Country Championship finals.
The Gary Jones-coached Under 16s started the day with an upset 34-6 win over Western Rams to win the Ron Lanesbury Shield.
Lanesbury was on hand to present the shield to GN Tigers skipper Josh Bermingham and there was no prouder man.
“I played here for Northern Division 40 years ago,” Lanesbury said.
“I congratulate them all, this is where it all starts for them.”
The Tiger 16s also had six players named in the Country side to play Queensland Maroons in Rockhampton next month too.
Fullback Hayden Loughrey, winger Brad Collet, centre Jesse Hourn, halfback Bermingham and props Harrison Buhler and Phillip Quinlan all fly to Rockhampton to play the Maroons along with six of the GN Tiger Under 18s after they beat Central Coast 42-24 to win the Tom Nelson Under 18 Shield.
Callum Hayne, Jordan Press, Mitch Doring, Zac Faulkner, Ryan Holman and Brad Johnston were all named in the Country Under 18s.
“They all thoroughly deserve it,” Matt Parsons said.
“‘I thought John Boy Quinlan was unlucky. He played great for us down in Wollongong and here too. But six is about as good as you can expect. And what a day for Northern Division.
“It would have been a long time since we’ve had a day as big as this.”
To add further to the day two of the Greater Northern senior players – Scone captain-coach Daniel Ritter and fullback Tim Smith – were both named in the Country Seconds Bulls team to play Queensland Maroons in Rockhampton.
The senior GN side had been knocked out of the Tier 2 Country Championship by a North Coast side (18-16), which fell to Greater Southern 50-6 in Saturday’s final at Scully Park.
In and absorbing , grinding Tier 1 Country Championship Final Illawarra made it back-to-back wins over Newcastle with a 22-20 victory.
Scone’s Aaron Watts will also coach the Country Under 18s on their two-game tour of Queensland as well.
n Meanwhile the Australian Under 15 Schoolboy Championships started at Scully Park yesterday with a 10.30am game between South and Western Australia. Northern Territory and Victoria played the second game before the official opening ceremony at 1.15pm and two afternoon games between Queensland White and NSWCIS (1.50pm) and Queensland Maroons and NSWCHS (3pm).
The two skippers of the host teams were choppered into Scully Park as a prelude to the official opening ceremony at Scully Park yesterday.
n Turn to Page 21 for more on the first day of the Australian Under 15 Schoolboys Championships.