Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

North Tamworth Bears host Moree Boars in an early season Grand Final replay at Jack Woolaston Oval tomorrow, Sunday April 14.

The two sides have some new faces aboard in what will be an electric day following on so closely from the funeral of the man, Jack Woolaston, who the ground is named after.

That Moree captain-coach Mick Watton reached out to the Woolaston family this week to offer his condolences was a noble but typical effort from the Boar star.

“I had two years there (at Norths) and Jack looked after me so well,” said Mick Watton.

Woolaston was a great administrator for the club through the good and bad years and his name will be for ever spoken with pride and respect.

Mick Watton said as far as the Grand Final replay goes, his side hasn’t spoken much about it this week after their first round win over Dungowan at Gunnedah last Saturday.

He wasn’t particularly pleased with the way his side played against Dungowan.

“I wasn’t overly impressed,” he said.

“It was a great starting point though.”

He has named Mark Pegus in the centres after he was a late withdrawl last week.

In his place Lachlan McGrady came off the bench to star and the son of premiership winning Barry McGrady, has retained his spot in the 17.

The addition of Chris Vidler to the forward pack this season will add some starch to the side as well. Another newcomer, lock Jack Durheim, also shone on debut last Saturday and his arrival could make the backrow, containing Joe Wade and Brent McDonald, a potent weapon too.

North Tamworth coach Paul Boyce knows Moree will be quicker and slicker than last season.

“They’ve got guys who can create something from nothing,” said Boyce.

“Mick Watton said last year sides have to score more than 30 points to beat them. They have players like Brenton Cochrane, Jamie Sampson and Adrian Smith who you just can’t relax on. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”

The Bears will go into the game without backrower Josh Schmiedel (work) and injured Jone Marau and Livinai Tuicaku.

“I’m happy with the side we’ve named though,” Boyce added.

“It’s solid across the board. This year we have got plenty of depth within the club.”

Centre Ryan Hall will make his first grade debut for the club.

“He will do a good job for us, Ryley McKay is also in the centres and was outstanding for us last week.

Jone Ratulevu will also make his debut for the Bears and is a Fijian with bug wraps.

“He played pretty good in the pre-season, scored two tries against Woy Woy,” Boyce added.

He also said Damian Scott is normally a winger but been named in the back row.

“He used to play back row but we used him as a winger the last couple of seasons and he’s played well there.

“He’s been bugging me to play in the back row and we gave him a go in the trials. He was one of our best. He’s very aggressive and runs the ball strong and has the opportunity here to fill in for Josh.”

Group Four Sunday April 14 Games

In tomorrow’s other games: Kootingal Roosters will host the Wee Waa Panthers and the Boggabri Kangaroos will head back to Gunnedah to play the Bulldogs.

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