Greta-Branxton rake a man on a mission

GRETA Branxton hooker Daniel Bates is a born and bred Colt determined to win the “fledgling” club a second A Plus Contracting Group 21 premiership at Greta Oval tomorrow.

The Colts tackle Denman Devils in a replay of last year’s grand final.

Denman won that game 20-4 at Denman Oval to deny the Colts a second title in their short nine-year history.

Bates, 29, played for Group 21 and the Greater Northern Tigers in the Country Championship this year.

His ability to sneak out of dummy half and put teammates into attacking positions has been a feature of the Colts’ success in the past few seasons.

“I’m born and bred,” the number nine proudly said at Wednesday night’s Group 21 presentation night in the Muswellbrook RSL.

“I played a few seasons away at clubs like The Entrance and Macquarie Scorpions but this is my third season with the Colts. 

“It’s been great. 

“Most of the boys have played together the last two years.”

Colts skipper and five-eighth Joey Griffiths nodded in agreement.

The Colts have welded a strong bond in the past few seasons under coach of the year Ron Griffiths.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Griffiths, who also played for Group 21 and the GN Tigers, said of tomorrow’s home grand final.

“It’s been a good year. 

“We’ve stuck at it and it’s all come together well.”

Facing them is a Denman side which knocked out minor premiers Scone last Sunday through a mixture of gritty defence and taking opportunities presented by Blake Dureau and his radar-like boot.

Griffiths acknowledged the threat Dureau poses but doesn’t have a plan to negate Dureau, other than good old hard defence.

“It’s about ourselves,” he said of the preparations for tomorrow’s grand final.

“About performing, one to 17.”

Ron Griffiths had echoed that earlier on in the evening when he and Daniel Ritter had been named joint coaches of the year.

He said tomorrow wasn’t about avenging last year’s loss, more about being prepared for tomorrow’s decider.

“We’re looking forward to the 80 minutes in front of us,” he said.

“And getting that right. 

“And that’s going to take a team effort.

“We’ve had a good week off (after beating Scone 22-18 in an epic golden point major semi-final) and we’re ready for it.”

He said making sure of the mental side of Greta’s task was a main feature of his preparation.

Griffiths also reckoned  Ritter’s effort to take his side through unbeaten for the first 14 rounds was an effort deserving of the coach of the year award.

He also recounted a quick story of one of his young Colts that personified why he coaches.

“Brody Ede played all three grades for us on the one day this year,” he said.

“It’s the first time anyone had done that at the club in the nine years we’ve been going. 

“He played a full game of juniors, a full game of reggies and then came off the bench in first grade.

“After the game I was talking to his father and he thanked me. 

“I told him it was I who should be thanking him. 

“It was a marvellous effort. It’s why I coach.

“And I’ve used Brody a few times since too.

“It’s his last year of juniors but he’ll be playing for us in the seniors next year.”

Hopefully, with the club defending its second first grade premiership.

Greta-Branxton’s Daniel Bates sends the Greater Northern Tigers on the attack earlier this season. Denman's Ben Hagan (left) looks on as Scone and G21 coach of the year Daniel Ritter (right) had played the ball.

Greta-Branxton’s Daniel Bates sends the Greater Northern Tigers on the attack earlier this season. Denman's Ben Hagan (left) looks on as Scone and G21 coach of the year Daniel Ritter (right) had played the ball.

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