On Sunday the Warialda/Bingara joint venture team Gwydir League will take on the Group 19 Minor Premiers the Moree Boomerangs in the A Grade Grand Final in Moree.
After defeating Glen Innes 56 to 20 last Sunday all players seemed to come off the field injury free which means the team, failing a training mishap, will probably line up the same this weekend.
At fullback will be Mr. Reliable Mitchell Porter, who scored four tries last weekend which is typical of the way he reads the play and how he can create something out of nothing.
On the right wing is Harold Duncan who like Porter is a natural footballer with the ability to score tries from nowhere. In slight contrast is Nathan McGrady who tells us he is the only 30 year old in the team, is a great finishing winger who seizes on every opportunity his inside backs throw his way.
Speaking of his inside backs the two centres will be Ashley Churchland and Sam Armstrong. Ashley is a terrific defensive centre but also he has the ability to turn his defensive efforts into attack. He is also a very competent goal kicker. Sam is a very strong running player who always seems to get through the first line of defence.
At five-eighth is the brilliant David McGrady. David has been a real revelation to the team with his very smart ball skills and his uncanny knack of being in the right place at
the right time. I guess it’s a McGrady thing.
At half back is the evergreen Matthew Cleal who at 26 is the elder statesman of the team. Matthew is the Captain, a job he does really well, leading by example either setting up play or rucking the ball up if his forwards are a bit tired.
Speaking of forwards Adam Rodilossi has made the lock position his own. With his ‘never say die’ attitude and high work rate especially in defence he is the sort of player every team dreams of having.
The second rowers will be Tyler Dennison and Casey Bowman. Tyler is a great ball-playing forward who knows how to put a player into a gap but on the other hand Casey is a big tall hard running player who knows how to run into these gaps. Both are like Rodilossi with their ‘never say die’ attitude and both are really great defenders.
The front rowers will be Brendan ‘Tank’ Critchlow and Ben Kennedy. Both these fellows are big and both of them have come along in leaps and bounds under Peter Stevens’ coaching to the point they probably don’t have anyone any better in the group. Tank is also the President of the Warialda section of the joint entity.
This brings up to the heart and soul of the A Grade team, Mick Hodges, at Hooker binds it all together. He has terrific ball skills and he’s a tough little rooster. He can sneak out a try but it’s the defensive work around the ruck that amazes everyone – team mates and supporters alike.
On the bench will probably be Sam Cooper, Steve Garrett, Brent Sampson and Ted Cleal.
Sam at 18 years is the baby of the team and has shown this year what a great talent he is. Those of us, who used to watch him as a slightly built running back, can’t believe how he has turned into one of the strongest and hardest to tackle forwards in the team.
Steve Garrett on the other hand hadn’t played a lot of footy as a young bloke, so Coach Stevens has had to make him into the type of forward he wanted, a hard tackling fellow who is prepared to do the hard yards to give the other big blokes a rest, a job he does extremely well.
Brent Sampson is a pocket dynamo who does everything asked of him and is probably one of the best defenders in the team.
Ted Cleal as the only reserve back and usually comes on a bit later in the game but one thing about Ted, he will never let anyone down when he is on the field.
This is just a bit of a rundown of this very young team that will have it all to do on Sunday.
They are fit enough, keen enough and talented enough to bring home the bacon and they, along with the committee, hope everyone that can, will make the effort to go to Moree this weekend.