THE Greater Northern Tigers went ever so close to snaring a double whammy when their open and under 16 sides contested Northern Country Ladies League Tag Championships at Glen Innes' Kerry Meade Park on Saturday.
While the Kathryn McCulloch-coached Under 16's won through to a Country Championship Final against Greater Southern in Wyong next Saturday the Damien Allan-coached Ladies League Tag side lost its final game to nemesis Central Coast 16-4.
The 16's won all three games, beating Northern Rivers Titans 36-14, North Coast Bulldogs 32-4 and Central Coast Roosters 30-4 to win the Northern Country pennant and earn a crack at the Championship Final this Saturday.
The Damien Allan-coached Open side won their first game 12-0 against Northern Rivers Titans with tries from Kootingal's Abby Schmiedel and Gunnedah's Piper Rankmore.
Uralla's Amy Barraclough converted both.
"We blew out the cobwebs," coach Allan joked after the first round win.
"Northern Rivers were a tough side but all of our girls played well. We were good right across the park."
The Tigers then beat North Coast Bulldogs 30-0 with Armidale's Taneika Landsborough and captain Schmiedel crossing twice.
That left a virtual final against the unbeaten Central Coast Roosters and what was a 16-4 defeat.
"We were a bit unlucky," said Tigers captain Abby Schmiedel.
"The previous two matches caught up with us. We scored the first try but couldn't go on with it."
She said the new look Tigers side played well and started to gel together.
"It was still a good day for us, the girls played really well. We had some good young girls, some pace and some brains too."
Damien Allan was delighted with his side despite their final loss.
"They gave it their all," he said.
"I couldn't ask for a better performance.
"We were certainly in the game but we spent most of the second half in our own half.
"The bounce of the ball and a few missed tags cost us.
"Central Coast are a very good side too.
"There is certainly something to build on."
Greater Northern Region area manager Scott Bone congratulated the Under 16 side for making the Country Championship Final in their first year and was disappointed for the senior girls.
"They all played well," he said.
"Great for the Under 16's. They now play Greater Southern in Wyong from 10am next Saturday. "
He said the senior Tigers played well.
"The game against the Central Coast was a high quality game," he said.