GREATER Northern Tigers will have 14 players plus one former Barraba Bulldog lining up when three Country NSW teams tackle Queensland Country in Rockhampton tonight.
The Country Under 16 and 18 teams, with six GN players apiece, tackle Queensland Country while the Country Seconds Bulls also play the Queensland Rangers.
The Bulls include Scone’s captain-coach Daniel Ritter and fullback Tim Smith while Barraba’s Beau White, now playing for Wauchope, is in the centres.
Both Ritter, a former Country Firsts lock, and Smith, who toured South Africa with Country Firsts last season, have represented Country before but it is White’s first major selection.
“It’s great to have three players in the Country Seconds from Greater Northern,” Country Under 18 manager Mick Schmiedel said.
“I know Beau now plays at Wauchope but it’s good to have him and Daniel and Tim in the Seconds from Greater Northern.
“The boys (Under 18 side coached by Scone’s Aaron Watts) had an opposed session against the Seconds the other day too. That was good for both.”
He said the wins by Country U18 and U16 teams over Australian Samoa sides in Brisbane on Monday night was a good preparation for tough games.
“The two sides had solid wins.
“They were very physical games but we played a bit of footy.
“They (Australian Samoa) tried to bash us but all the boys stood up.
“It was a real good preparation for the Queensland Country games.
“We expect them to be be strong too, especially after last year when we played their second tier Queensland rep sides.”
Farrer’s Hayden Loughrey, Josh Bermingham and Harrison Buhler, Armidale’s Philip Quinlan, Muswellbrook’s Brad Collett and Singleton’s Jesse Hourn will line up for the 16s, while North Tamworth’s Callum Hayne, Zac Faulkner and Brad Johnston, Uralla’s Jordan Press, Muswellbrook’s Ryan Holman and West Lions’ Mitch Doring will play for the 18s.
Press will start in the centres.
It’s his first time involved with Country and has been an enjoyable experience so far.
“It’s been really good,” he said.
He said the 38-20 win over Samoa was a good lead-in to today.
“They were a bigger side than us,” he said.
“I thought our forwards went well up the middle.”
Today will require a similar effort.
“They’re definitely going to be strong,” Press said.
“We saw them at the airport in Brisbane.
“They were on the same flight as us (to Rockhampton).
“They’re a lot bigger than us.”
A couple of faces will be familiar.
“They have two or three players we played against from Samoa,” he said.
While Ritter and Smith are in Rockhampton, their Scone Thoroughbred teammates tackle Aberdeen in the Group 21 first grade clash at McKinnon Field, Aberdeen this evening while Denman Devils also play Muswellbrook Rams this evening at Muswellbrook’s Olympic Park. Both first grade games are timed to kick off at 5.15pm.
In the other Group 21 Round 12 clash, Greta Branxton is at home to Singleton tomorrow.