Dogs down but not out: Legends honoured: Rugby League

The Singleton Greyhounds completed the regular season in a festive mood on a glorious Sunday afternoon at Pirtek Park hosting the Aberdeen Tigers.

Beautiful weather and a bumper crowd were on hand with the highlight of festivities being the parading of the two surviving members of the 1948 premiership winning first grade side – 95-year-old Neil McNamara (former mayor) and 90-year-old Noel Hedges.

Both were given a rousing reception upon introduction by Neil Hassett and Nigel Papworth from the Singleton Old Boys to the throng of supporters.

The legends were given a rousing reception upon introduction by Neil Hassett and Nigel Papworth from the Singleton Old Boys to the throng of supporters.

The legends were given a rousing reception upon introduction by Neil Hassett and Nigel Papworth from the Singleton Old Boys to the throng of supporters.

Onto the main event and despite missing several key players including half-back Jake Smith, lock-forward Cody Argent, back-rower Michael Rinkin and fullback Scott Griffiths, the Ourcare Singleton side gave a good account of themselves against premiership favourites the Aberdeen Tigers going down 44 – 26.

The result was meaningless in terms of outcomes of semi-final rankings but important in terms of momentum going forward.

The Greyhounds certainly started the contest with vigour and had the visitors on the hop in the opening exchanges. In the 9th minute an elusive five-eighth James Bradley brushed through the Tigers defence to score the opening try and Will Neiuwenhuise’s conversion made it 6 – 0 to Singleton.

Elusive five-eighth James Bradley brushed through the Tigers defence to score the opening try.

Elusive five-eighth James Bradley brushed through the Tigers defence to score the opening try.

The Tigers feasted on a glut of possession to score out wide to level the scores at 6 – 6. A penalty gave Neiuwenhuise a chance to edge Singleton clear with a penalty goal 30m out to move the score to 8 – 6 after 21 minutes.

There was no stopping the Tigers next try with a well worked chip and regather putting the Tigers back in the lead at 12 – 8. Aberdeen enjoying much their way in the 50/50 call department extended that lead to 18 – 8. In the final seconds of the first half Singleton hit back through a try via a Bradley bomb to make it 18 – 14 in favour of the visitors at the break.

Aberdeen came out in the second half full of enthusiasm that soon became four unanswered tries to lead 44 – 14 at 71 minute mark with the game all but gone. With the result beyond them Singleton subbed out key players for next week but it didn’t stop them scoring two well-crafted tries to Neiuwenhuise and Logan Rutter who backed up after a full game in reserves for a final score of 44 – 26.

All attention now shifts to next week and the sudden death Group 21 minor semi-final against Muswellbrook.

During the regular season, Singleton have met the Ram’s on three occasions with the Greyhounds holding a 2-1 record over their more fancied rivals. In round 3 it was a 42 – 16 win to Muswellbrook, in round 8 it was 28 – 22 win to Singleton and more recently in round 13 Singleton again prevailed 24 – 22 at Olympic Park. Hopefully Singleton can get a few players back for the contest and rise to the occasion.

It has been a herculean effort by the team thus far and they have exceeded all expectations given the huge holes created in their playing roster since last season. Having said that, I like their chances.

The Remondis Group reserve side bowed out of semi-final reckoning this year but gave a good account of themselves in their final match of the year against the Minor premiers. The Tigers worked their way to a 20 – nil half time lead with Singleton filing to capitalise on the few chances they had. The second half was a much better effort and they managed to outscore the visitors three tries to one in the second half via a double to Christian Kirby and another to Luke Cavanough who was a dangerous commodity.

The final score finishing at 26 – 14 to the visitors. The Reggies can be proud of their effort this year after some wholesale changes to their squad and it was great to see so many guys back in the fold. Upwards and onwards for next year.

The Singleton Tyre Centre Under 18’s have started lethargically in recent weeks and this game was no different. The side limped to a 14 – 10 at half time against the winless Tigers. Some choice words from Coach Daniel Higgins soon spurred his team into action and an avalanche  of points followed with Singleton powering to a 54 – 16 win. The final two weeks have been a distraction of sorts and no doubt the team are looking to the major semi-final next week against Scone.

In the pup’s three clashes with Scone, the Thoroughbreds in round 1 toppled the Greyhounds 24 – 18 which is Singleton’s only loss this season. In Round 6 and 11 Singleton won 20 – 6 and 26 – 4 victories and now boast a 14 round unbeaten stretch heading into this semi-final. They will need to tighten up defensively with a view of progressing straight through to the grand final next Saturday.

Players player Emma Johnstone who scored three tries in the big win.

Players player Emma Johnstone who scored three tries in the big win.

The Entire Concrete Ladies League-tag finished the season in sizzling fashion easily accounting for Aberdeen 46 – 6 after leading 24 – 6 at the break. The girls had been building to a performance like that taking the Minor premiers Merriwa to the wire last weekend in a game they could easily have won according to Coach Matt Kenny. Tries this week came the way of Emma Johnstone (3), Jule Kirkpatrick (2), Jackie Hicks, Rhianna Cullen, Emmerson Harris, Campbell Stamp and Casey Fernance who was a tower of strength again in the middle for this young and in-experienced team. This team has the most growth potential of any and it’s an exciting proposition they present going forward next year.

Saturday 11th August: Major Semi-Final – McKinnon Field (Aberdeen)

Under 18’s: Singleton V’s Scone

Sunday 12th August: Muswellbrook V’s Singleton – Olympic Park (Mswellbrook)

First Grade: Muswellbrook V’s Singleton