The Greater Northern Tigers will tackle the North Coast Bulldogs in first round Andrew Johns Cup (under-16) and Laurie Daley Cup (under-18) encounters at Aberdeen’s McKinnon Oval on the weekend.
The juniors’ match kicks off at 11am on Saturday 6 February with the senior boys’ showdown timed for a 12.20pm start.
Each team is coming off trial wins against Newcastle Knights development sides at Scone Park and both Tiger coaches, Brett Jarrett (16s) and Darryl Rando (18s), boast talented young squads.
The mentors are outstanding players in their own rights, playing in the NRL lower grades before returning to the country where Jarrett has starred with the Dungowan Cowboys in Group 4 and Rando captain-coached the Scone Thoroughbreds to a number of Group 21 premierships.
While Jarrett is still running onto the field with the Cowboys, and starred at the recent Wests Entertainment Group 9s in Tamworth, Rando has been retired for a long while and still suffering from a bad ankle injury that needs pinning.
The setback hasn’t affected his enthusiasm and delight to be coaching the Tiger under-18s.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said after Saturday’s initial trial against the Knights.
“We’ve got a bit to work on.
“That was a pretty good win though.
“We mixed and matched and all of them performed well.
“We have a little bit of size (in the forwards) and a very good spine.
“We’ve got the makings of a side that can do very well.”
Rando’s spine consists of outstanding Farrer fullback Mitch Henderson, talented halves Ethan Antzakles and Pichai “Tommy” Dixon and hooker Harry Reid.
“They are four key positions,” Rando said.
“And, we have some good size in the forwards with Mark Simon and Jake Clydesdale.
“We also have a very mobile back-row (Hayden Bull, Luke Smith and Samuel Fechner).
“It’s just a matter of getting together as a squad.”
The Tiger 18s will keep their 20-man outfit together as they have five games in as many weeks.
The squad will train together again in Scone on Friday evening (5 February) before tackling the Bulldogs in the season opener at Aberdeen’s McKinnon Oval.
- by Geoff Newling
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS v NORTH COAST BULLDOGS
McKinnon Oval, Aberdeen – Saturday 6 February
ANDREW JOHNS CUP
Under-16s – kick-off 11am
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS: 1 Riley Pennell, 2 Drewe Gilbert, 3 Tully Whollert, 4 Riley Witherdin, 5 Jack Smyth, 6 Charlie Henderson, 7 Callum Dowell, 8 Matthew Ross, 9 Talon Harrington, 10 Sebastian Lawler, 11 Lachlan Bonnell, 12 Logan Spinks, 13 Nathaniel Follington, 14 Jacob Cordina, 15 Jasper Thistle, 16 Brady Roser, 17 Harrison Vermeulen, 18 Gabriel Stafa. Coach – Brett Jarrett
NORTH COAST BULLDOGS: 1 Elijah Coles, 2 William Hogan, 3 Luke Calthorpe, 4 Connor Latham, 5 Bill Butlin, 6 Navren Willett, 7 Hamish Wilson, 8 Lachlan Mifsud, 9 Hudson Harmer, 10 Tavis Felsch, 11 Harrison Brennan, 12 Jack Margetts, 13 Emannuel Degle, 14 Kristan Doolan, 15 Jacob Earl, 16 Joel Power, 17 Diem Mason-Woods, 18 Joshua Margetts
LAURIE DALEY CUP
Under-18s – kick-off 12.20pm
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS: 1 Mitch Henderson, 2 Jesse Cadalbert, 3 Blake Johnston, 4 Corben Hampstead, 5 Dylan Smith, 6 Ethan Antzakles, 7 Pichai Dixon, 8 Mark Simon, 9 Harry Reid, 10 Jake Clydesdale, 11 Luke Smith, 12 Hayden Bull, 13 Samuel Fechner, 14 Ned Chaman, 15 Toby Taggart, 16 Alexander Lawrence, 17 Charlie Parsons, 18 Billy Youman, 19 Daniel McMillan, 20 Joash Boney. Coach – Darryl Rando
NORTH COAST BULLDOGS: 1 Tirell Dungay, 2 Joshua Power, 3 Corey Lewis, 4 Christopher Bull, 5 TBA, 6 Timothy Bull, 7 Aston Pollard, 8 Riley Mylrea, 9 Grady Spokes, 10 Travys Downton, 11 Peter Conroy, 12 TBA, 13 Benjamin Brennan, 14 Ty-Jesse Brabant, 16 Ryan Maloney, 17 Bailey Thompson, 18 Oshay Tyerman