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Sunday, July 25, 2021

HUNTER RUGBY: Griffins set sights on Brown Snakes

Watch out Cooks Hill Brown Snakes, the high-flying Newcastle Griffins are gunning for you.

After dropping the first four rounds of the Hunter Rugby divisional season, the Jesmond-based outfit has surged into play-off contention.

Following victories over Cessnock (31-14), Merewether Carlton (29-14), Singleton Army (25-12) and Pokolbin (10-3), the Griffins produced a Herculean effort to dismantle competition heavyweights The Waratahs 17-12 in their last outing, on the back of tries to Christopher Smith, Josefa Cabenalotu and Michael Hardy.

Now, they have the Brown Snakes in their sights when they meet at Heaton Park on Saturday 10 July.

“We’re sitting in fourth spot, so that’s probably a first for the Griffins,” head coach Dylan Coe said.

“Cooks Hill is not far behind on the ladder, they’re very close.

“There’s a lot to play for [this weekend].

“They actually beat us last time at their home ground, Empire Park.

“So, we’re looking to get a bit of pay back as well.”

The Griffins’ lofty position on the table in 2021 is a far cry from previous seasons.

They could only manage one victory in 2019 and went winless last year.

“I’m so pleased with where we’re at,” Coe said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better side to coach.

“The boys put in hard work and they’re here every Tuesday and Thursday night.

“Even the blokes who can’t make it are doing extras at home.

“It’s great to see a successful team at the Griffins.

“We’ve had a rough couple of years.

“Hopefully, we’re digging ourselves out of that patch.”

Newcastle Griffins Tom French, Jake Stuart, Blake Gumb, coach Dylan Coe, Cooper Elliott and Jacob Jones. Photo: Rod Thompson

The Griffins’ stunning form reversal has given the players plenty of self-belief, too, according to Coe.

“Moving forward, this competition we’re in is pretty even,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We just beat the top team [The Waratahs] last week in a close game.

“They were undefeated until the previous round but have now lost two on the trot, including one to Mayfield Easts.

“So, there’s a good feeling among the guys.

“It definitely instils that bit of confidence in the squad as well.

“I believe we can challenge for a premiership title, 100%.

“We’re going in with an ‘all or nothing’ attitude.”

The Griffins will also host their inaugural indigenous round against the Brown Snakes, wearing a specially-designed jersey.

The program, which starts from 1pm, includes a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by Aunty Theresa Dargin.

Hunter Rugby divisional

Round 11 results:

Muswellbrook d Singleton Army Lions 44-7

Easts d Cooks Hill 19-12

Pokolbin d Cessnock 21-3

Griffins d The Waratahs 17-12

Bye: Merewether Carlton

Round 12 draw:

Saturday 10 July –

Griffins v Cooks Hill

Cessnock v Easts

Singleton Army Lions v Pokolbin

Merewether Carlton v The Waratahs

Bye: Muswellbrook

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