The Greater Northern Tigers under-16s and under-18s go into third round Country Championships matches with slightly different squads.
The Tigers tackle the North River Titans in the Andrew Johns Cup and Laurie Daley Cup at Armidale Rugby League Park on Saturday 20 February.
The Brett Jarrett-coached under-16s face the Titans in a crucial fixture for both winless sides, kicking off at 11am.
Greater Northern selectors have made a couple of changes to the team for the weekend’s showdown.
“We’ve moved Jacob Cordina to the wing and Brady Roser to lock,” Jarrett confirmed.
“Deacon Hampstead has come into the squad and onto the bench.
“He’s a back-rower from Singleton.”
Jarrett hopes the changes can help the side notch its first win after losing to the North Coast Bulldogs (28-12) and Central Coast Roosters (20-0) in the opening rounds.
“They (Titans) are winless, too,” he said.
“But they are all tough games.
“We don’t know how good they are – we’ll out Saturday.”
He said his team had plenty to work on after its previous defeat.
“The conditions didn’t help us,” Jarrett added of a wet, rainy day.
“We made some unfortunate errors that killed us and had some lapses in defence as well.
“However, we aren’t far away from putting together a good performance.”
While both the Tigers and Titans sit ninth and tenth respectively on the 10-team Andrew Johns Cup ladder, Greater Northern has played two of the top four sides so far, the Bulldogs and Roosters, who are unbeaten alongside the Monaro Colts and Illawarra South Coast Dragons.
The under-18s are positioned sixth on the Laurie Daley Cup table, two spots below the Titans, equal on points but behind on the for and against statistics.
The Darryl Rando-coached team is coming off a last round loss to the unbeaten Central Coast Roosters.
“We’ve made a couple of changes,” he said.
He has named “two new wingers, bigger bodies” on the flanks with Guyra’s Billy Youman and Moree’s Alex Lawrence out wide.
Werris Creek’s Charlie Parsons has also been named in the front-row.
Parsons is the son of former Newcastle Knights legend and NSW Blues prop Matt Parsons.
“Charlie had a groin injury and missed the first round,” Rando said.
“I hope he takes the chance with both hands.”
His side trains at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School from 5pm today.
“We just need to improve our ball control and kicking game,” Rando said.
“It was 10-4 at one stage of last Saturday’s game (22-4 loss to the Roosters) but we never played well.”
He’s hoping the changes can help tweak the team on a dryer deck at Armidale Rugby League Park for the 12.20pm kick-off.
- by Geoff Newling
Andrew Johns Cup ladder
(for and against in brackets)
North Coast Bulldogs 4 (60-12), Monaro Colts 4 (44-10), Illawarra South Coast Dragons 4 (50-20), Central Coast Roosters 4 (28-4), Macarthur Wests Tigers 2 (38-28), Western Rams 2 (24-42), Riverina Bulls 0 (22-38), Newcastle Maitland Region Knights 0 (8-34), Greater Northern Tigers 0 (12-48), Northern Rivers Titans 0 (4-54)
Laurie Daley Cup ladder
(for and against in brackets)
Western Rams 4 (78-16), Central Coast Roosters 4 (46-8), Monaro Colts 4 (52-30), Northern Rivers Titans 2 (42-34), North Coast Bulldogs 2 (44-42), Greater Northern Tigers 2 (34-44), Macarthur Wests Tigers 2 (24-40), Illawarra South Coast Dragons 0 (20-36), Newcastle Maitland Region Knights 0 (20-42), Riverina Bulls 0 (20-88)