Juniors go for the win

The Glen Innes Magpie under 18s will be shooting for their first major premiership since 2009 when they run onto Mead Park on Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

The youngsters were Glen’s best side throughout the regular season and claimed the minor premiership for their efforts.

Heading into the major semi-final they were slight favourites to secure a grand final berth.

After a sloppy start, the Magpies regrouped at the back end of the first half and produced a dominant second half to register a 34-22 victory over Tingha.

It is a new look side in 2012, with only a handful of players returning from last season’s team.

Captain Sam Schiffmann, props Dillon Watson and Brendon Jillett, second rower Damien Hamel, fullback Dean Swaffer and centre Ace Holliss returned this season for their final season in juniors.

While the majority of the side have stepped up from under 16s into their first year of under 18s and have been outstanding.

Lock Jay Gallagher was named Group 19s best and fairest for the year, while Wade Campbell has given the Magpies some real strike power out wide, but all the new under 18s have done their job and should be commended for making a grand final in the first season.

The Magpies also secured a prize off season recruit in country back rower Jock Waters.

Waters switched clubs to join Glen from Armidale this season and has proven to be one of the best juniors to don the black and white strip in many years.

He will line up at five-eighth on Sunday and has been just one of the reasons the Magpies have been so successful.

Coach Mark Gallagher said it had been a tremendous year so far, but the job is not done yet and is expecting a tight contest on Sunday.

“They’ve got a few things to work on this week,” he said.

“Armidale have beaten us once and the other game was a draw so it should be a good game.”

Gallagher is looking for his forwards to lay the platform early on in the grand final.

“Our forwards will have to aim up, cart the ball forward and win the ruck,” he said.

The Magpies use a four prop rotation and they should give the Magpies some good go forward on Sunday.

“The big four props, Jai Perkins, Watto (Watson), Bear (Jillett) and Billy Lightfoot will have to take it forward well,” Gallagher said.

“If they do that Jock (Waters), Jay (Gallagher) and Schiffo (Schiffmann) will capitalise,”

Gallagher said away from a strong forward pack, the side also possesses some dangerous backs.

“Brandon Levy has been in good form,” he said.

“Jesse Mosman is finding his feet and Wade (Campbell) and Damien (Hamel) have been strong all year.”

But if they are to take home the trophy it’s going to have to be a team effort.

“It’s a team effort, there’s 20 kids there,” Gallagher said.

“We wouldn’t be where we are without the full 20.

“There’s no mugs amongst them.

“Those blokes who are sitting on the bench were playing full games in the middle of the year.”

The Magpie juniors are expected to kick off at around 11.30am on Sunday against the Armidale Rams.

o One more game: (Back L-R) Damien Hamel, Billy Lightfoot, Jay Gallagher, Sam Schiffmann, Dillon Watson, Toby Shannon, Wade Campbell and Jai Perkins. (Front) Michael Chard, Cody Townsend, James Winter, Dean Swaffer, Nathan Marzuli, Brandon Levy, Brendon Jillett, Jesse Mosman and Blake Steel.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.