Gunnedah Red Devils players shone brightly in the recent NSW Country Championships that took place in Tamworth on the June long weekend.
Tim McDermott and Sam Crane represented the Central North Kookaburras men’s side, McDermott a key pillar in the forward pack and Crane at fly half.
McDermott was monstrous in the set piece line out. His ability to contest in the air was a feature of his game against Western Plains on Saturday.
McDermott won five line outs against the throw which was a key to ensuring the Kookaburras didn’t concede points at critical stages of the match. On the back of the dominant forward pack, Crane at fly half sliced his way through late in the game to seal the match for the Kookaburras.
On Sunday the side faced Mid North Coast – boosted by former Red Devil Jeff Wilson – and continued its dominance in the forward pack.
McDermott was again a shining light in the line out set piece again but also in the tight-five scrimmaging.
The Kookaburras scored three tries off the back of a pushover from the scrum due to the efforts and contribution from McDermott.
Crane was also busy and continually turned the Mid North Coast side around off the back of his pin point kicking display.
By match’s end the Kookaburras men had run away convincing winners 41-17 to claim the Richardson Shield by 24 points.
The icing on the cake for the Kookaburras was McDermott being named player of the final, and all but the tournament due to his consistency in winning possession for the Kookaburras for the entirety of the tournament.
The Red Devils were well represented at the tournament but fell at the final hurdle to the Central West outfit.
Gunnedah shone for the home Central North Kookaburras side which featured eight Devils in the squad of 25.
Devils’ regulars in the Kookaburras zone side Sarah Stewart, Lana Botrell and Simone Lickorish were selected but impressively five new faces from Gunnedah – Jess Baker, Haylee Murrell, Kate
O’Donnell, Hannah Crisp and Peta Lawrence – featured in the zone side for the first time.
Central West had been undefeated in the past Country Championships, and were forced into a physical game against the Central North Women with only two tries being scored in 80 minutes.