The Collegian Warriors withdrawing from Group 4 was obviously disappointing. But from the smouldering embers rose Kimberley Resch to unleash a try-scoring blitzkrieg.
Lured to North Tamworth by her boyfriend, Bears first-grader Jake McManus, and the club’s family-friendly reputation, Resch is in the midst of a season of high distinction.
She was after a “good, fun year” and was confident Norths would provide that. But surely she did not dare to believe that it could be this much fun.
Playing fullback for the competition-leading, undefeated Bears, she has scored 36 tries in 11 matches including one five-try haul, four four-try hauls and four three-try hauls. Her teammate, Kate Ferguson, is next best with 20 tries.
Resch has also booted a competition-best 47 goals, to give her 238 points for the season. Kootingal-Moonbi’s Jessica Baker is in second place on 112 points.
Last season Resch scored 13 tries and kicked 45 goals in 11 matches en route to Collegian beating Norths in the grand final.
She credited her new teammates for her success this year, saying “they’re real easy to run off”.
“We’re having a really good season so far but there’s still a long way to go,” she said, adding: “I’ve been very lucky.
“I guess you’d call it cherry-picking … The girls are making a few breaks and I just try to be there to back up.”
Resch also said the draw this season meant North Tamworth had not played the top sides “as much as we would have liked to”.
With two rounds remaining before the finals, eight points separate Norths and fifth-placed Gunnedah.
On Friday, Group 4 announced the 11-team league tag competition would have two final series – a premiership battle for the top five teams and a “tier-two” finals series for the sixth to 10th-placed sides.
“It was always going to be a two-tier finals competition,” Group 4 chairman Ray McCoy said.
“It was something that was put to the AGM [annual general meeting], voted on and passed. It’s just that we hadn’t reminded any of the clubs.”
Table: North Tamworth 24 points, Kootingal-Moonbi (20), Dungowan (20), Barraba (18), Gunnedah (16), Werris Creek (11), Boggabri (10), South West Robins (10), Bendemeer (9), Wee Waa (6) and Narrabri (0).