The Greater Northern Tigers senior men’s and women’s teams may have lost their trials against the Newcastle Maitland Region Knights in Dudley at the weekend but both coaches believe they have handy squads and “plenty to work with”.
The Mick Schmiedel-mentored Tigresses were the first to play in the rain and wet conditions.
They lost 12-4 while the Brad McManus-coached men suffered a 24-12 defeat.
Schmiedel was delighted with his squad of 22 despite an early onslaught from the Novocastrians.
“We started slowly,” he said.
“They (Newcastle) scored three tries in the first 20 minutes – got the jump on us.
“We made a few little errors and they capitalised on them.
“Newcastle has been together for six weeks, training together, and all we’ve had is one session as a squad.
“So, I’m pretty happy with that.
“We’ve got a few things to look at when I look at the tape.”
He said every player clocked around half an hour or more.
“They all got good minutes to show their wares,” Schmiedel added.
“We play them again in two weeks’ time in Cessnock,” he said of a first round Country Championships clash.
Uralla’s Amy Barraclough, Tigress captain, was a standout in attack and defence, Schmiedel said.
“You expect that from her though,” he stated.
“The two 17-year-olds, Anastasia Martin and Lucy Plowman, also more than held their own.
“That’s good for the future.”
The Tiger men were in a similar boat to the women, having had just the single session to work together.
They also have a small pack of forwards and did well in the wet conditions and were more than competitive in their six-try-to-three loss.
“I was pretty happy with it, real happy,” McManus said.
“We only came together last Wednesday.
“They (Newcastle) led us early but we clawed our way back to 12-all.
“They then scored a couple of tries at the back end of the game but we were in it for a long time.
“I’m very happy with what I’ve got to work with and we have a couple of weeks to work on it before we play them at Cessnock in the first round of the Country Championships.”
He thought Manilla captain-coach Mitch Doring and young Denman star Brady Benkovic were good “but they were all pretty good, pretty well all round. We have plenty to work with.”
- by Geoff Newling