The Greta Branxton Colts know a win this weekend against Group 21 leaders Scone will be essential to keep alive any hope of defending their minor premiership crown.
The second-placed Colts tackle the undefeated Thoroughbreds at Scone on Sunday with five points separating them on the competition ladder and a round 10 win would put them within striking distance with five weeks remaining.
“This is the minor premiership on the line for us,” Colts coach Ron Griffiths said.
“They are five clear of us so we need to win this one against them and the next time we play them [August 2] and hope they stumble somewhere along the way.
“It [this weekend] will give us a chance for us to test out mettle and we are looking forward to it.”
The Colts will go into the fixture following a dour 38-16 win against Muswellbrook at home on Sunday while Scone accounted for Denman 40-22.
“It was a pretty dour sort of day and game, not really conducive to good football,” Griffiths said.
“But we were good enough to get away with it and get the points but we are still a long way off the mark.”
For the first time this season the Colts scored first, then trailed before leading 18-10 at the main break.
The second half was won 20-6 by the Colts.
Griffiths said fullback Andrew Roberts was outstanding while he also paid tribute to Brady Hammond, Joey Griffiths, Daniel Bates and Ben Murray, who backed up from representative duties with the Greater Northern Tigers in the NSW Country Championships tier two semi-finals a day earlier.
Griffiths said performances of former Maitland Pickers players Brendan Neal and Hayden Crouch were also noteworthy.
Singleton won the weekend’s other Group 21 fixture 30-20 against Aberdeen.
In the lower grades Greta Branxton won reserves and women’s league tag against Muswellbrook but missed the clean sweep in under 18s.
LADDER: Scone 18; Greta Branxton 13; Denman 9; Muswellbrook 7; Singleton 4; Aberdeen 1