The Greater Northern Tigers under-16s fought back from a slow start to almost pull off a good win at Singleton’s Pirtek Park on Saturday.
The Brett Jarrett-coached outfit gave up two early tries to the Central Coast Roosters to trail 12-0 after 10 minutes and then 16-4 at half-time before roaring back to just miss a draw when beaten 20-18.
Centre Oscar Atkin had the chance to level the Andrew Johns Cup fixture after the bell but his conversion of Sam Carr’s last-minute try went wide.
“We let them get a head start,” Jarrett admitted after the two-point loss.
“Unfortunately, we were a bit flat in defence, we weren’t as good as we were last week.
“We had a little bit of a reality check at half-time and they flicked the switch, they made a great comeback.”
Jarrett was pleased his young side was able to overcome their first half mistakes and lift their games.
“You can see the improvement in them each week,” he added.
“They weren’t on their game but to see the way they responded showed their character.
“Central Coast are the benchmark, too.”
Lock Jack Foley was one of the Tigers’ best and he shared the team’s players’ player award with halfback Jordan Hamlin.
“His workrate was phenomenal,” Jarrett said of the forward.
“Campbell Munn was great in the middle, too.
“The fullback (Cooper Meldrum) was very good, he made some tough carries.”
At the Cessnock Sports Ground, the Newcastle Knights drew 16-all with the Monaro Colts.
The teams went into the break locked at 6-all.
The Knights struck first through Lochie Gray (16th minute) but the Colts replied via Ryan Blowes in the 28th.
And, they could not be separated in the second half either, with each posting two more tries.
Monaro hit the lead 10-6 when Darnell Nye dived over.
However, Newcastle responded immediately when Dominic Buechner crossed. Machai Pillidge’s boot pushed the hosts ahead 12-10 when he landed the conversion.
The Colts hit back when Josef Medina posted a four-pointer. Lucas McPherson added the extras to push the side ahead 16-12.
Harrison Kearsey had other ideas – and tied it all up in the 51st minute.
- with Geoff Newling
CENTRAL COAST ROOSTERS 20 (Cooper Tippett 2, Sean Bullen, Lachlan Jeffery tries; Chaice Bayley 2 goals) d GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS 18 (Archie Dowden, Cooper Meldrum, Ryan Jurkans, Sam Carr tries; Oscar Atkin goal)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 16 (Lochie Gray, Dominic Buechner, Harrison Kearsey tries; Machai Pillidge 2 goals) drew with MONARO COLTS 18 (Ryan Blowes, Darnell Nye, Josef Medina tries; Lucas McPherson 2 goals)
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