Inverell rugby league talent James Ballinger snagged a spot in the Group 19 Greater Northern Tigers side after a successful weekend in Tamworth.
In his last year of U23s representative football, Ballinger captained Group 19 at the Greater Northern Championships where the side saw mixed results.
The boys started with an entertainingly close loss of 18-16 to Group 20 before finishing the day on a high with a dominant 38-0 win over Group 4.
Ballinger will join Moree’s Tristan Duncan-Ward and DeWayne Nicholls, as well as Armidale’s Scott McIntyre to compete in the NSW Country Championships following the selection.
The U23 Greater Northern Tigers side will be coached by Peter Stevens as they verse North Coast at Coffs Harbour on March 9.
Group 19 coach Chris Binge was thrilled with the way his side performed across the two games.
“A lot of people coming here today had written us off based on previous performances but I knew I had a good side,” he said after the championships concluded in Tamworth over the weekend.
“I knew the work they had put in and I was pretty confident in the effort they could put out today.”
Binge was pleased to see four of his players progress further through the ranks and get selected for the Greater Northern side.
To get four blokes through after that effort today is pretty big for Group 19.Coach, Chris Binge.
“We talked about it at training, it was more about what the team could do and if the team could perform, then obviously the individual selection processes pushing forward, that was going to take care of itself and that's exactly how it panned out,” he said.
“To get four blokes through after that effort today is pretty big for Group 19, and I think in the years to come we can only improve and get better, and if that happens then it's all good for the group.”
Binge sees a bright future for the Group 19 playing group, with the majority of the squad still eligible for selection next year, and is keen to continue working with them after taking on the role in a spur of the moment way this year.
“If the group’s willing to have me around for the next year or two then I'm more than happy to help with the development of these kids,” he said.
“We've got a pretty good camaraderie amongst this team and I think that in itself is gonna put us in good stead moving forward.
“If they wanna come back I'd love to be back with them,” Binge said. The squad will continue working on fitness in preparation.