Group 19 rugby league: Narwan Eels reserve grade ready for grand final

KEY PLAYER: Narwan dummy-half Justin Breen finished as the reserve grade competition's leading tryscorer and in the top five for the best and fairest trophy.
KEY PLAYER: Narwan dummy-half Justin Breen finished as the reserve grade competition's leading tryscorer and in the top five for the best and fairest trophy.

The Narwan Eels reserve grade team are one step away from pulling off a dream finish to the Group 19 season. 

Fit and firing in the final rounds of the season, they finished in fourth to clinch a spot in the semi-finals. 

After toppling the Boars in a tight tussle in the minor semi-final, the Eels overcame the Inverell Hawks in Sunday’s preliminary final 26-18 to book a spot in the decider. 

They will face the Moree Boomerangs and team manager Peter Moran believes if the Narwan pack can march their team forward early, they are in with a chance of nabbing the title. 

“I think we have got the best pack in reserve grade,” he said. 

“It is our forward pack that has got us where we are at the moment and the backs have been doing their job.”

Moran said the Boomerangs team has a backline brimming with speed to burn and it will be a matter of taking control and playing the game at their speed. 

“If our backs can contain their backs then I think our forwards can get on top of their forwards,” he said. 

“If we can just control the speed of the game and dominate the rucks and slow it right down because we don't want them on a fast roll, that is what they are really good at.”

The reserve grade competition has been sporadic at times with only five teams from seven clubs entering. 

The lack of games week-to-week saw teams struggle to build momentum. 

A host of reserve graders from Narwan stepped up to A grade this year and the game time from that, combined with two semi-final outings, Moran believes the team have momentum in their favour. 

“All year we have been backing up virtually playing two games so it paid off at the back end of the season,” he said. 

“A lot of these boys have been playing A grade too so the match fitness shouldn't be a worry.”

Team list: 1. Brendan Dixon 2. Aaron Ewen 3. Jarrah Collins 4. Alister Vale 5. Anthony Strong 6. Paul Hilan 7. James Ahoy 8. DJ Kelly 9. Justin Breen 10. Dale Freeman 11. Duane Button 12. Jarryd Ritchie 13. Gary Quinlan 14. Ron Ahoy 15. Ronald Kelly 16. Alan McKenzie 17. Edward Vale-Tighe 18. Alan Widders Jnr