Selectors have made one change to the Greater Northern Tigers under-16 side for Saturday’s second-round Andrew Johns Cup clash against the Newcastle Knights at Scone Park.
The Tigers beat the Central Coast Roosters in Wyong last Saturday and Tigers coach Steve Haylen is hoping his young side can improve after that initial 30-10 win.
“We made just the one positional change, Daltyn [McCartney] moves to the wing and Blake [Johnston] comes into the centres," he said.
“Daltyn is also our goalkicker and kicked five from six last week. Apart from that, we are the same."
Haylen, of Muswellbrook, said the side made a “few errors” last week but “got away with it”.
“Hopefully they learnt from that, because we have to be better this week," he said. "Last week was also like our first trial as well and it was good to get it out of the way with a win.”
Tigers captain Jock Brazel, who scored two tries last round, led the way along with big prop Mark Simon. Centre Campbell Watchirs was also dangerous.
Haylen also had young Aberdeen halfback Pichai Dixon practicing his kicking in general play this week in an effort to maximise field position.
He wants the side to learn how to graft their way to wins on the back of a good kicking game - long and short.
“I want us to be a hard, gritty side and play as a team,” he said. “We’ve got some good forwards.”
He also wants the likes of Watchirs and talented fullback Latrell Newman to “enjoy” themselves.
“I had a good yarn with Latrell after the game last week,” the coach said. “He told me he was very nervous before and during last week’s game.
"I told him it’s just a game of football and I want you to have fun. If you try something and make a mistake I don’t care. I just want you to enjoy it.
“These kids are great to coach. They are so keen to play well.”
Saturday’s game at Scone Park kicks off at 12 noon.
TIGERS: 1 Latrell Newman (Moree), 2 Daltyn McCartney (Singleton), 3 Campbell Watchirs (Inverell), 4 Blake Johnston (Scone), 5 Brayden Talbott-Hatch (Gunnedah), 6 Ethan Antzakles (Farrer), 7 Pichai Dixon (Aberdeen), 8 Mark Simon (Farrer), 9 Sam Fechner (Scone), 10 Jeff Harvey (Narrabri), 11 Hayden Bull (Scone), 12 Luke Smith (Scone), 13 Jock Brazel (Moree), 14 Clint Aitken (Dungowan), 15 Lachlan Smith (Farrer), 17 Ryan Kelly-Payne (Gunnedah), 18 Nicholas Laurie (Scone), 20 Jordan Leota (Dungowan).