Greater Northern Tigers women’s tackle coach Mick Schmiedel admitted he was a little surprised by the quality of the rugby league on display in Saturday’s regional championships.
But the surprise was quickly replaced by excitement at having a Tigers squad brimming with talent and potential to tackle the inaugural women's Country Championships.
“I know I was sitting there as a coach and was watching from a coach's point of view but as a spectator I was still quite happy,” Schmiedel said.
“I can't wait.
“It was good footy to watch on the weekend, there wasn't a bad game hence why we had such a good crowd.
“The standard of the women's tackle has improved dramatically in 12 months.
“I am fairly confident we will go deep into the championships.”
As the old adage goes ‘defence wins games’ and that is an area Schmiedel will focus on.
“For me tackling is more important with the women than it is with the men because men are taught from such a young age about tackling,” he said.
“We will be working a hell of a lot on the tackle technique under fatigue.
“It has come a long way in a short amount of time because the girls are playing regularly so they are picking up little things. Attack is natural because anywhere you go, anywhere you play the game is attack, attack, attack.
“To win like this you have to have your defence on song.
“Generally the side that defend better will win these kind of carnivals.”
The Championships will begin on March 9 with the Greater Northern team traveling to Coffs Harbour to take on North Coast.
The squad of 20 will be narrowed down to 18 with one traveling reserve.
The games will be 60 minutes with a limit of 10 interchanges.
“I sent the girls all a message the other day that we have picked a team with the belief they can play 60 minutes if they need to,” Schmiedel said.
“We are only allowed 10 interchanges so they have got to get their fitness up to speed.”
They will also play in Armidale on March 16 against Northern Rivers.
TEAM: Jess Morgan, Taylah Blackadder, Gaynor Blackadder (Merriwa), Brooke Davis (Greta Branxton), Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook), Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi), Lauren Clarke (Boggabri), Joan O’Leary (South West Robins), Toni Skuthorpe (South West Robins), Zoe darlington (Barraba), Amelia Tunamena, Alisa Tunamena, Sarah Byrne (Glen Innes), Robyn Broadbent, Amy Barraclough, Alyce Walsh, Brooke O’Halloran, Katelyn Smith (Uralla), Taneika Landsborough (Guyra). Coach – Mick Schmiedel.