Neighbours Northern Rivers and North Coast Face-Off in Semi-Finals

Updated: May 18, 2018

Northern Rivers and North Coast are only one win away from reaching the Final of the Men’s Under-23’s Country Championships when they face-off in the Semi-Finals at Sawtell this weekend.

Northern Rivers Coach Max Beecher was pleased with his team’s efforts in round one against the Greater Northern Tigers, but believes there is still room for improvement against North Coast this weekend.

“I was happy with the way we played to our game plan, the boys played really well,” Beecher said.

“They all had a dig and put 100% in, we’ve just got to make sure we execute a bit better this time because I thought we bombed a few tries in the first half.

“North Coast have some really handy players but hopefully everything falls into place for us and we’re the ones that win; but any side can win on the day.”

Beecher says his players to watch are front rowers Caleb Ziebell and Nick Morrissey, as well as captain Anthony Coleman and hooker Joe Besgrove, who scored three tries against Greater Northern.

North Coast Coach Dean Hurrell says their game against CRL Newcastle was won by controlling the ruck, but believes this week will be more of a challenge for his team.

“It was great for us just to get another run, that’s probably the advantage that we’re going to have over Northern Rivers because they’ve had one game and a week off,” Hurrell said.

“We just really need to nullify Northern Rivers in the middle and that’s going to control the game and the result.

“If we get to the final we’re every chance of winning, like the Central Coast game, we probably weren’t expected to win that one and they’re not too far off Monaro and Illawarra.”

Hurrell is hoping to field the same team as their round one squad that played in Macksville. His key players for this weekend include Old Bar player Shannon Ellem, speedster fullback Owen Blair and hookers Mitch Wilbow and Riley Glover.

The North Coast v Northern Rivers Men’s Under-23’s match will kick off at 12:10pm and will take place at Rex Hardaker Oval, Sawtell. The Country Championship Semi-Finals will be live stream via the CRL Facebook page and website thanks to BAR TV Sports.