Bears juniors finish on top

Leaving on top: The North Tamworth juniors saved their best for last to win the title in their final game together after accounting for Armidale. Photos: Gareth Gardner

Leaving on top: The North Tamworth juniors saved their best for last to win the title in their final game together after accounting for Armidale. Photos: Gareth Gardner

THE North Tamworth U18s went out on a bang last weekend taking out the group 4 grand final for the third year straight with a good win over the Armidale Rams.

The Bears side is almost completely made up of Farrer students, and following the finish to their GIO Cup and University Shield campaigns over the past month the grand final was the last time that they will play together before they go their seperate ways next year, and they didn’t disappoint.

Hayden Loughrey pulled off the double double, after being named the competition’s top try scorer and Player of the Final for the past two years straight before he embarks on a new adventure at the Newcastle Knights next season.

The flying fullback thought that the side were good in the final, but only after they calmed down and got back to their structure.

“We started a bit slow and didn't really stick to our plan,” Loughrey said.

“We were throwing it around a bit too much and going for tries.” 

“We talked about keeping ti simple and it turned into a great last game with the boys.” 

“It’s good to leave with the title.” 

In a great sign for Group 4 newcomers Armidale the juniors have been the shining light this season, after their only senior side recorded one win in their maiden group 4 season, also saving their best to last to pip the Oxley Diggers in the final round.

The two sides were scheduled to meet three times in the regular season, and while the Bears ran out comfortable winners in two of the matches, theyforfeit the third match after struggling for player numbers in the holidays.

That forfeit was the only blemish on an otherwise undefeated season.

On Sunday the home side might have got an early shock as the Rams burst out of the gates and crossed for first points with their big pack charging down the middle.

It didn’t take long for Norths to hit back, taking the lead early and never relinquishing it to run out 38-12 winners, the biggest margin of the day.

Rams forward and Group 4 player of the year Elijah Rasiga along with five-eighth Edward Pitt had the Rams coming back at the Bears all game as their big forwards kept charging although they were outgunned by the Bears who held them out and continued to find plenty of room on the edges and outside.

Outgoing Norths coach Sean Hayne thought that his sides second half was a great way to finish as a team.

“They just had to believe in themselves and then it all went well,” Hayne said.

“They are all great mates who always play for each other.” 

“They have been a pleasure to coach.”

Over: Jack Cameron reaches out to touch down against the post in the grand final despite the best efforts of Armidale Rams defenders Ryan Vial and Elijah Rasiga.

Over: Jack Cameron reaches out to touch down against the post in the grand final despite the best efforts of Armidale Rams defenders Ryan Vial and Elijah Rasiga.

Try time: The Bears juniors get around skipper Cameron Thorne after the bustling centre scored an impressive try in the final at Jack Woolaston Oval.

Try time: The Bears juniors get around skipper Cameron Thorne after the bustling centre scored an impressive try in the final at Jack Woolaston Oval.

Break-out season: Hard running Armidale lock Elijah Rasiga won the Player of the Year but couldn't quite get the Rams home against the unbeaten Bears in the final.

Break-out season: Hard running Armidale lock Elijah Rasiga won the Player of the Year but couldn't quite get the Rams home against the unbeaten Bears in the final.

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