Colts feel returning strength in quest to harness Scone

GRETA Branxton welcome back five players to their run-on squad to tackle Scone in Sunday’s A Plus Contracting Group 21 major semifinal at Scone Park.

It means both teams will be at full strength with the minor premier Scone also running out their best side for the equine battle between the Colts and Thoroughbreds.

Two weeks ago Greta Branxton ended Scone’s unbeaten run (and Clayton Cup hopes) with a 20-18 win after the bell at Greta Branxton.

“We have four or five players coming back from injury who didn’t play in that game too,” first grade team manager John Gorman reported to The Leader.

“Basically we’ll be full strength and have named a 20-man squad.”

Fullback Andrew Roberts, hooker Daniel Bates, secondrower Mitch Bird, prop Ben Murray, Mick Akers and Colin Walker all missed that final round win.

Roberts, Bates and Bird come back into the run-on side while Greater Northern representative is on the bench with Akers and Walker.

The return of Bates to the hooker position is a major bonus for the Colts while Scone also welcome back their number nine, John Johnson, as well.

Johnson missed the Greta Branxton match but returns to the number nine fit and healthy with an almost unchanged line-up, said captain-coach Daniel Ritter.

“Having Johnno back is a big bonus for us,” Ritter said.

“He’s got the ability to run at opposition defences from dummy half and get our attack rolling.

“He’s always a help with his experience too.”The Thoroughbreds have a good spread of experience and youth in their squad.

“We’ve got the three older players (John Johnson, Matt Finlayson and Peter Ford) over 30 and the rest are all young,” Ritter said.

“Matt has been a great addition this year, his attack on the edges has been outstanding were he puts a lot of doubt in defenders minds.”

But we just have to get our defence in order first and work from there.”