Young reserve grade manager Greg Smith believes the Pickers will be a contender for the Burmeister Shield premiership for a number years.
The Pickers reserves were ousted by Wagga Kangaroos in a thriller on Sunday at McDonald Park at Wagga, a last-ditch try inside the final minutes giving Roos a 20-18 victory in the qualifying final.
While it spelled the end of Young’s Burmeister Shield premiership chance in 2018, manager Greg Smith has high hopes for future campaigns.
“We had good numbers all year, about 25 players registered in reserve grade. They’re a close bunch and they’re mostly kids. I’d guess the average age to be 20 to 21 years of age,” Greg Smith said.
“There’s exciting years to come.”
A late Pickers try in the first half reduced the deficit to 8-6 at the break after Roos went ahead thanks to two tries which both went unconverted.
A few positional changes gave Young a boost and they hit the front, 18-14, with about seven minutes left.
Young forced a few repeat sets but couldn’t find a killer blow.
Roos were given one last opportunity from a scrum on halfway, after Young knocked-on, and they took full advantage crossing from close range with one minute and 30 seconds on the clock.
“It was a heartbreaking loss. They tried really hard. All year our pack has been the smaller pack but we’ve outlast teams. They were a big pack and it took its toll,” Smith said.
“We had ample opportunity to win the game but every time we applied pressure we panicked and pushed the pass. It was just silly penalties and errors.”
The result means Young Cherrpickers under 18s and under 16s will be the club’s only presence at Group 9 grand final day on Sunday at McDonald Park, Wagga.
- Wagga Kangaroos 20 (Ben Tipping 2, Daniel Hill, Bowie Foster tries; Daniel Hill 2 goals) defeated Young Cherrypickers 18 (Jack Bush, Matt Murray, Jason Brown tries; Matt Murray 2 goals, penalty goal)