Group 19 rugby league: Under 23s impress at Greater Northern Championships

The Group 19 under 23s side enjoyed a successful weekend at the Greater Northern Championships in Tamworth on Saturday, February 9. 

The team opened up with a close 18-16 loss to a strong Group 21 outfit, before finishing with a dominant 38-0 win over Group 4. 

In more positive news to come out of the weekend, four representatives from Group 19 have been selected in the Greater Northern Tigers side.

Moree Boomerangs players Tristan Duncan-Ward and DeWayne Nicholls, as well as Inverell’s James Ballinger and Armidale’s Scott McIntyre have all been selected to compete in the NSW Country Championships in March.

Group 19 coach Chris Binge was thrilled with the way his side performed across the two games.

“A lot of people coming here today had written us off based on previous performances but I knew I had a good side,” he said.

“I knew the work they had put in and I was pretty confident in the effort they could put out today.”

Binge was pleased to see four of his players progress further through the ranks and get selected for the Greater Northern side.

“We talked about it at training, it was more about what the team could do and if the team could perform, then obviously the individual selection processes pushing forward, that was going to take care of itself and that's exactly how it panned out,” he said.

“To get four blokes through after that effort today is pretty big for Group 19, and I think in the years to come we can only improve and get better, and if that happens then it's all good for the group.”

From a club perspective, Binge was also impressed by the Boomerangs representatives’ performances.

“They performed really well, we were unlucky not to get another two of our boys into the [Greater Northern] team,” he said.

“Every one of those boys that put their hand up, they were there abouts. They showed their calibre, and showed the Boomerangs will be just as good, if not better then they were last year, which is a scary thing for the competition.”

Binge sees a bright future for the Group 19 playing group, with the majority of the squad still eligible for selection next year, and is keen to continue working with them.

“If the group’s willing to have me around for the next year or two then I'm more than happy to help with the development of these kids,” he said.

“We've got a pretty good camaraderie amongst this team and I think that in itself is gonna put us in good stead moving forward.

“If they wanna come back I'd love to be back with them.”