Photo courtesy of Sharon Corcoran (On The Ball photography)
Young Cherrypickers coach Nick Hall is looking forward to the input of the Picker brothers this season after the club got their campaign off to a promising start with a hard-fought win 28-18 over Junee Diesels at Laurie Daley Oval.
Joe, Michael and Ben Picker boast plenty of NRL experience between them with Joe managing 121 games for the Canberra Raiders and South Sydney Rabbitohs, Michael four games for the Raiders while Ben played in the Raiders Under 20s team.
It is the first time the brothers have played together in five years and Hall said the move was part of a bigger plan to ensure future success for the club.
“We’ve got some locals, like the Picker brothers Joey, Ben and Mick so a bit of NRL experience coming in which is always good and just some other guys we bought around the group but we generally try and get people in the club that are able and willing to be here next year as we want to make it sustainable,” Hall told nswrl.com.au.
Hall said he was also pleased with the performance of the team to rally after they fell behind early.
“We had ten new faces in our side, so a whole pile of new faces and some good players no doubt but still new faces and new combinations, so that was good for us,” Young Cherrypickers coach Nick Hall said.
“Then the disruption of covid, I’ve got a handful of travellers that don’t train with us on Tuesdays, so there was a whole pile of excuses we talked about before the game and none of them were going to be good enough but that was the good thing, we toughed it out.
“We got down early, they scored two tries in the first five minutes so it was 12-nil straight away and then for the rest of the game we kept them to one try off a kick, so defensively we scrambled and scrapped really well and were tough to score against.”
The Pickers will play competition heavyweights Gundagai in Round Two at Alfred Oval up but Hall is hopeful the home ground advantage and player combinations will get his team over the line.
“Gundagai and Tumut are pretty settled in their rosters and had a great game against each other so they’ll be match-hardened and ready to go on the weekend,” Hall said.
“We’re playing at home for the first time which will be made even better by the little things like a new dressing shed and new clubhouse we’ve got, so it’s exciting to be at home and exciting to have another game of footy when we thought we weren’t going to have any.”
In other Group 9 action this weekend, First Grade 2019 premiers Tumut Blues couldn’t be separated from the Gundagai Tigers, who drew 16-all at Twickenham Oval on Saturday.
Tumut were bolstered by the inclusion of former Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers Canterbury Cup NSW representative Michael Fenn.
Fenn ran over the opposition on his first touch, was one the best forwards on the field and complements Tumut’s solid front row pairing of Zac Masters and Jed Pearce.
The Blues scored at the death through Brayden Draber to square up the game.
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