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NEWRL: Rebels successfully defend Country Championship

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The Newcastle Rebels successfully defended their NSWRL Country Championship crown, via a hard-fought 20-4 victory over the Monaro Colts at the weekend.

The recently-rebranded Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (NEWRL) representative outfit, under the leadership of former NRL coach Garth Brennan, stole the honours with a four tries-to-one shutout of its rivals at the Cessnock Sportsground on Sunday 24 March.

Fullback Cameron Anderson, who picked up the man of the match accolade, crossed the tryline, along with inspirational prop James Taylor and wingers Will Nieuwenhuise and Honeti Tuha.

Skipper Chad O’Donnell booted two goals.

Monaro’s lone points came from winger Brandon Withers.

Central Newcastle fullback Cameron Anderson was deemed player of the match from Sunday’s NSWRL Country Championship decider.

The triumph capped a phenomenal two-year period for the Rebels – on this occasion featuring Anderson (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Tuha (Cessnock Goannas), Matt Soper-Lawler (Maitland Pickers), Blake Ferguson (Kurri Kurri Bulldogs), Nieuwenhuise (Maitland Pickers), O’Donnell (Maitland Pickers), Will Smith (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Jayden Butterfield (Maitland Pickers), Luke Huth (Cessnock Goannas), Taylor (Maitland Pickers), Lewis Hamilton (South Newcastle Lions), Lincoln Smith (Maitland Pickers), Ben Stone (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Ryan Glanville (South Newcastle Lions), Jack Welsh (South Newcastle Lions), Liam Wiscombe (Western Suburbs Rosellas), Peni Terepo (Macquarie Scorpions), Matt Moon (South Newcastle Lions) and Mitch Black (South Newcastle Lions) – who have yet to drop a match since their reappearance in the tournament format.

Brennan, taking over the reins from Adam Bettridge, was thrilled with the result.

“All the boys have worked hard for that win,” he said.

“They deserve it.

“The Hunter’s a great rugby league heartland and so is Monaro.

“Newcastle is going to have another strong competition this year with some very good clubs.

“And, a lot of that comes back to ex-NRL players returning to contribute to local footy and that’s great to see.”

Brennan also praised the efforts of hooker Huth and prop Taylor.

“I thought Luke was a standout,” he said.

“I’ve got no doubt he should be in the NRL system somewhere… he’s that solid.

“He’s a class player and you could see the difference when he came back on.

“I also felt Jimmy was tireless.

“He’s got plenty of heart and he really ripped in.

“He was amazing for us today.”

The players will now return to their respective clubs to prepare for the start of the NEWRL competition, which kicks off with a Magic Round at No. 2 Sportsground on Saturday 13 April from 11am.

NEWRL round one draw

(Saturday 13 April, No. 2 Sportsground)

  • Noon: The Entrance Tigers v Lakes United Seagulls
  • 1.45pm: Wyong Roos v Kurri Kurri Bulldogs
  • 3.30pm: Northern Hawks v Maitland Pickers
  • 5.15pm: Macquarie Scorpions v Cessnock Goannas
  • 7pm: Western Suburbs Rosellas v Central Newcastle Butcher Boys
  • Bye: South Newcastle LIons

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