GREATER Northern Under 18s repelled a determined second half fight-back from Central Coast to make a double Country Championship success at Scully Park on Saturday with a hard fought 42-24 victory.
After the Tiger Under 16s had scored a good win over Western, the Matt Parsons-coached Tiger 18s came back from an early 6-nil deficit to lead 24-6 at one stage of the second half.
Central Coast’s big pack then found their way to cross for three tries, two of them to beefy lock and captain Rob Rodger to draw level at 24-all.
When Mitch Doring scored his third try the Tigers had bumped it back out to 30-24 but Central Coast refused to lie down.
A major bust from a kick and re-gather down the short side almost found another equaliser but Rodger’s final pass to centre Jackson Crane spilled forward.
Replacement Tom Say made the tackle on Rodger and it was his short run from dummy half that set the Tigers back on their winning way a few minutes later.
When Doring danced through and past some more defenders his popped pass as he went to ground was gratefully accepted by fullback and skipper Callum Hayne. He then fired it out to exciting Uralla centre Jordan Press and the young double Tiger raced over for the second of two electric tries.
It was a gallant effort against a bigger side.
“We had to dig deep, said skipper Callum Hayne in his acceptance speech.
“We made it tough on ourselves but finished strongly.”
Former NRL prop Matt Parsons was delighted with the team, the Newcastle Knights prop impressed by the way they overcame the big Central Coast pack.
“We stopped building our game,” he said of the side’s lapse which saw it give up a 24-6 lead.
“Once they got that back they were right.
“Central Coast were a much bigger team and it was a matter of taking the puff out of them.
“This is a good side.
“Fourteen of those boys are 17-years-old, they are all bottom age and will be back next year. Plus we’ll have some of the 16s coming up as well.”
After slipping behind early young centre, Jordan Press, sparked the Tigers with one of two brilliant tries.
“He’s electric that kid, outstanding, very quick,” Parsons said”
And five-eighth Mitch Doring also deserved high praise for not only scoring three tries but playing a hand in a number of others as well.
“It’s the first time he played exactly how I wanted him to,” Parsons said.
“It was simple.”
Doring agreed and was delighted to be one of six Tigers selected in the Country side to be coached by Scone’s Aaron Watts.
Fullback Callum Hayne, centre Jordan Press, prop Zac Faulkner, secondrower Ryan Holman and prop Brad Johnston will fly to Rockhampton next month with their Country Under 18s.