GREATER Northern Tigers under 16s started slowly, revved up to take a 20-point lead but clocked off a little early before holding on and winning their opening round Country Championship clash with East Coast Dolphins at Armidale’s Bellevue Oval on Saturday.
The Gary Jones-coached Tigers were down early but the injection of Koen Rieri and Jordan Allan was just the spark the side needed to take a 16-12 lead into halftime and continued on for a 20 point lead in the second half.
“We did have a slow start but got back into it when Koen and Jordan came on,” Jones said.
Rieri turned the game, scored a try and set one up.
“He and Jordan sparked us and we had a good 20 point lead in the second half but then clocked off a little early and they (Dolphins) got back into it.”
He said the side held on solidly to record a vital first win with captain and lock, Max Altus, one of the stars along with Rieri and strong winger Luke Howes, who also scored one of the six tries.
“It was a tough game too,” Jones added.
“The track was boggy, they had a storm here last night. It was a good start for us although it did get a bit nervy late when we let them back in. It would have been disappointing to get run down after leading by 20.”
He said Max Greacen was another to impress after taking an abductor muscle injury into the game. Apart from Greacen the rest of the side came through relatively unscathed, Jones said.
“We should be right for next Saturday’s game against Central Coast at Scone.”
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS 32 (Luke Howes, Ben Fechner, Max Greacen, Cody Byrne, Koen Rieri, Alex Fisher tries, Bailey Ellis 4gls) d DOLPHINS 28 (Brenton Daley-Holten, Tyke Kemp, Ryan Pemberton, Jacob Conlan tries, Joel Minihan 4gls).