GREATER Northern Tigers senior men and women started their Country Championship campaigns in Tamworth on Monday evening.
While the Hogs For Homeless charity bike riders were also in town and conducting their own junior clinic (at Minor League Park) and social event (at The Southgate Inn) the Tiger men and women were sweating it out 200m away on Ken Chillingworth Oval.
Pirates Rugby Club loaned them their lush green oval to begin preparations for their first Country Championship games in Coffs Harbour in a few weeks.
Both sides impressed their coaches Peter Stevens (men) and Mick Schmiedel (women).
“I was extremely happy with them,” Mick Schmiedel said after nearly two hours of drills and plays.
“They were picking up what I was putting down,” he joked.
“We didn’t have to go over a lot of things,” he said more seriously of a side that grasped the ins and outs of his coaching mantra.
“We did keep it basic, we want to keep it simple and have given them four basic plays. We’ve given them a base to work on but left it up to them to play some football. If they are going to win they will have to play some football.”
He believes he has plenty of attacking players to be able to make those attacking plays especially Glen Innes prop Amelia Tunamena.
He thinks she has the makings of a fine, ball-playing prop and could be an attacking threat by running to a hole and not the defender and then offloading short passes to her backrowers and support players.
His side trains again from 11am Sunday at Werris Creek’s David Taylor Park while the men train from 9.30am, advised Peter Stevens, who was happy with their efforts in the two hour session.
“They went all right,” Stevens said.
“They were gelling well and enthusiastic. The good thing is I’ve coached a lot of these boys before.”
However young up-and-comers such as Moree’s Tristan Ward are new to the Tigers and hold great excitement.
“Tristan has got a great future, noone (rival defenders) knows what he can do.”
A backower he has been named in the backs after being one of the stars of the recent Greater Northern Tiger Championships in Tamworth.
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS LADIES
Jess Morgan, Taylah Blackadder, Gaynor Blackadder (Merriwa), Brooke Davis (Greta Branxton), Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook), Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi), Lauren Clarke (Boggabri), Joan O’Leary (South West Robins), Toni Skuthorpe (South West Robins), Zoe Darlington (Barraba), Amelia Tunamena, Alisa Tunamena, Sarah Byrne (Glen Innes), Robyn Broadbent, Amy Barraclough, Alyce Walsh, Brooke O’Halloran, Katelyn Smith (Uralla), Taneika Landsborough (Guyra). Coach – Mick Schmiedel.
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS UNDER 23 MEN
1 Will Nieuwenhuise (Singleton), 2 Harry Douglas (Aberdeen), 3 Hamish Wolfgang (Aberdeen), 4 Cameron French (Aberdeen), 5 Tristan Ward (Moree Boomerangs), 6 James Bradley (Singleton), 7 Mitch Doring (Manilla), 8 Isaac Austin (Scone), 9 Matt Gillham (Boggabri), 10 James Ballinger (Inverell), 11 Jordan Mulherin (Denman), 12 Brady Benkovic (Denman), 13 Andrew Pritchard (Denman), 14 Mitch Sheridan (North Tamworth), 15 Lincon Smith (Gunnedah), 16 Jock Small (Narrabri), 17 Scott McIntyre (Armidale), 18 Hayden Smith (Gunnedah), 19 Luke Rees (Denman), 20 Dewayne Nicholls (Moree Boomerangs). Coach – Peter Stevens.