Local rugby league lovers will be spoilt for choice this weekend, with Singleton and Cessnock both hosting important matches on the junior calendar.
The Greater Northern Tigers head to Pirtek Park on Saturday 12 February to play second round fixtures of the Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cups against the Central Coast Roosters.
To add to the atmosphere at Singleton, the region’s women’s outfit faces Newcastle in a trial.
Then, the under-16 and under-18 Greater Northern squad members who didn’t make the Tigers’ sides will take on a Canterbury Bulldogs development line-up, too.
However, if watching the Knights’ up-and-comers are more to your liking, venture to the Cessnock Sportsground on the same day.
Newcastle tackles the Monaro Colts in the Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cups before facing the Western Suburbs Magpies in the Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball showdown.
The icing on the cake will be the Knights’ women locking horns with Wests Tigers in the Tarsha Gale Cup encounter.
Meanwhile, the Brett Jarrett-coached under-16 Tigers are coming off a good win over the North Coast Bulldogs, claiming a 24-18 victory.
The Darryl Rando-mentored under-18s weren’t as fortunate, going down 32-28 to the NC Titans.
NSW Rugby League development officer Peter Stevens is now looking forward to a busy day but had hoped it would be even more hectic.
“We were keen to have a men’s trial as well but Newcastle pulled out,” he said.
“I’ve been ringing around to try and find a replacement, however it doesn’t look like we will get one.
“Both the men’s and women’s sides trained on Sunday and coaches Spitter (Brad McManus) and Mick (Schmiedel) were happy with them.”
McManus is in charge of the Tigers men again and Schmiedel continues in his role with the women.
“It’s going to be a busy day,” Stevens said of Saturday’s quartet of matches at Pirtek Park.
The Knights’ junior league reps also kicked off their respective seasons, with clashes with the North Sydney Bears at the Kurri Kurri Sports Ground.
Newcastle’s SG Ball outfit secured a resounding 44-0 demolition of their rivals.
The Knights led 10-0 at the break, through tries to Myles Martin and Luke Pietzner, and upped the ante in the second half scoring 34 unanswered points.
Development player Chris Vea’ila grabbed a double, along with Fletcher Sharpe, while Ethan Ferguson, Kyle Colburn and Liam Sutton snared four-pointers.
In the Tarsha Gale Cup, the Knights celebrated a 24-14 win over the Bears.
Setting the tone early, the team snaffled two quick tries before North Sydney hit back to lead 10-8 at the interval.
Newcastle then found another gear to run in 16 unanswered points.
The Knights’ Harold Matthews Cup side suffered a hard-fought 22-10 loss, despite tries to Connor Votano and Jarred Williams.
- with Geoff Newling
- GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS ANDREW JOHNS UNDER-16 SQUAD: Issac Adamthwaite, Oscar Atkin, Rory Barry, Brodhi Campbell, Sam Carr, Archie Dowden, Nick Driscoll, Zane Groves, Jordan Hamlin, Ryan Jurkans, Campbell Munn, Cooper Meldrum, Charlie Merrick, Dylan Keane, Jack Foley, Jackson Smith, Seb Sykes
- GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS LAURIE DALEY UNDER-18 SQUAD: Joash Boney, Jake Clydesdale, Callum Dowell, Nate Follington, Jack Grob, Corbin Hampstead, Deacon Hampstead, Lewis Hippi, Kaleb Hope, Dan McMillan, Riley Pennell, Brady Roser, Logan Spinks, Jasper Thistle, Junuh Warden, Jacob Whitehill, Jordan Willock, Billy Youman
Pirtek Park, Singleton
- Before: junior development trial – Greater Northern Tigers v Canterbury Bulldogs
- Noon: Andrew Johns Cup – Greater Northern Tigers v Central Coast Roosters
- 1.20pm: Laurie Daley Cup – Greater Northern Tigers v Central Coast Roosters
- Afterwards: women’s trial – Greater Northern Tigers v Newcastle Knights
- 10am: Andrew Johns Cup – Newcastle Knights v Monaro Colts
- 11.20am: Laurie Daley Cup – Newcastle Knights v Monaro Colts
- 1pm: Harold Matthews Cup – Newcastle Knights v Western Suburbs Magpies
- 2.30pm: SG Ball – Newcastle Knights v Western Suburbs Magpies
- 4pm: Tarsha Gale Cup – Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers
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