Greater Southern Region want crack at Illawarra

Greater Southern Region will earn a rare shot at Country Rugby League heavyweights Illawarra if they knock over Central Coast in Saturday’s qualifying playoff at Forster.

After capturing the CRL Tier Two title last year, Greater Southern have been given the opportunity to progress to the 2015 Tier One semifinals.

Victory over Central Coast would set up a semifinal showdown with reigning Country champions Illawara on June 13, while a loss would leave Greater Southern in the Tier Two semifinals.

An Illawarra v Greater Southern clash would almost certainly be played at a Wollongong venue and generate plenty of interest among the region’s many league followers.

‘‘It’d be great to see it happen,’’ Greater Southern coach Peter Hooper said.

‘‘That’s what it’s all about - putting our best foot forward to play at the highest level that we can. If that’s playing against sides like Illawarra, we look forward to that, but we’re not looking past this weekend. We just have to concentrate on Central Coast and hopefully get the result so we can line up a date with Illawarra.

‘‘Their coach [Jamie Forbes] coached Country Seconds last year and I’m sure they’ll be a well drilled outfit. I’m sure it’s a proud region like ours and the players will want to represent strongly.’’

Selectors were forced to make a few changes to the original Greater Southern squad after players ruled themselves out with work commitments.

Despite the alterations, Hooper likes the look of his team.

‘‘We’ve got a handy side again,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s plenty of depth in the region and I’m happy to take away this team and and I’m confident we’ll perform to the best of our capabilities.’’

Saturday’s meeting with Central Coast kicks off at the earlier time of 12.15pm.

Greater Southern Region

Joel Roberts, Kurt Field, Josh Toohey, Jake Clarke, Sione Kaivelata, Jesse Dee, Jono Dallas, Andrew Diomei, Nathan Ford, Harold Snell, Benson Tupou, Dean Scott, Mark Walsh

Bench: Josh Kent, Ryan Apps, Brad Hopkins (one to be added)

This article originally appeared in the Illawarra Mercury on 20/5/2015




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