Kiwis in debut for Tigers

WINGHAM’S two New Zealand imports, Marlon Purcell and Solomona Sia, had their first game in Tigers colours in a rugby league trial against Shortland at the Wingham Sporting Complex.

Purcell is an outside back with Sia a front rower. Both impressed Wingham coach Jamie Moorehead, although they struggled somewhat in the conditions.

“They both said they’d never played a game in heat like that,’’ Moorehead smiled.

Elusive Wingham utility back Matt Bridge steps through the Shortland defensive line during the trial game played at Wingham.

Elusive Wingham utility back Matt Bridge steps through the Shortland defensive line during the trial game played at Wingham.

“But other than that they settled in pretty well.’’

Moorehead said it was a good trial and he was particularly impressed with his forwards, adding that Shannon Ellem did a power of work. He played his strongest side for two of the four quarters, giving some under 18s and reserve graders a run in the other two.

“We made it through unscathed so that was another positive,’’ Moorehead said.

The Tigers will host Taree City in the opening round of the Group Three pre-season on Sunday.

Bridge back

TODD Bridge made it through 30 minutes of a trial against Singleton and is set to make his comeback for Taree City in this year’s Group Three Rugby League competition.

Bridge hasn’t played since 2015 when he underwent knee reconstruction surgery for the second time. He coached the Bulls to the under 18 premiership last year.

He said he made it through the trial without too many problems and hopes to play in Sunday’s pre-season opener against Wingham at Wingham.

The Bulls took 18 players to Singleton and Bridge said there were some pleasing aspects despite the 24-14 loss.

Tim Alliston, who like Bridge, hasn’t played for two years because he was overseas, is also on the comeback trail.

“He was a bit rusty, which is understandable, but he can still hit a hole,’’ Bridge, who ran the side in the absence of his father and first grade coach, Gary Bridge, said.

Alliston will play in the backrow or in the centres this season.

Front rower Mick Peachy, a signing from Dubbo, missed the game but is expected to take the field against the Tigers this weekend. Peachy has impressed Taree’s coaching staff at training.

Coaches appointed

PORT Macquarie’s Matt Shipway has been named coach of the Group Three rugby league under 23 side for the revamped Country Championship clash against Group Two at Sawtell on Saturday April 22. Gary Bridge of Taree will be his assistant. Shipway, Kevin Hardy (Taree), Warren Blissett (Forster) will be the selectors.

Scott Jacklin of Taree will coach the women’s league tag side, with Jenny Alcorn of Tuncurry the manager. Jacklin, Ian Andrews (Taree) and Barrie Smith (Cundletown) will be the selectors).