Tiny half off to the Titans
MEET the youngster who must be the lightest player in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League semi-finals.
Woodenbong's Tim Green has been named on an extended bench for Northern United in their showdown with Mullumbimby in the NRRRL major preliminary semi-final at Les Donnelly Field, Mullumbimby, tomorrow.
And while there is no doubting the size of his heart or skill, the size of his frame is somewhat debatable.
The 17-year-old halfback reckons he tips the scales at a bulky 61kg.
Coaching staff believe he may weigh less than 60kg, which is almost half the weight of some of the fearsome Mullumbimby forward pack he could face tomorrow.
“I'm 60kg, no 61kg,” Green proudly declared on Thursday night.
“Playing first grade can be tough and it is pretty structured.
“I'm not too worried (about being small) because the older boys look after me.”
Green, who has represented North Coast Schoolboys and also Northern Rivers Under-18s, has been offered a shot with the Gold Coast Titans Under-18s next season and he will move to the glitter strip in the off-season, attending Palm Beach-Currumbin High School.
While it is a move that would delight most, the Woodenbong Central School student is somewhat subdued by the move because at heart he is a Bulldogs supporter.
“I guess I'll have to change but it's a good change,” he said.
Green is not the only Northern United player to make history as the smallest in a competition.
Fullback Roy Bell had the moniker of the lightest player in the NRL when he played with South Sydney in 2004 and 2005.
He was 65kg when he made his NRL debut as a 19-year-old but bulked up 6kg in the off-season and tipped the scales at 71kg in 2005.
Popular Gold Coast Titans playmaker Preston Campbell has long been one of the smallest in the NRL but even he has managed to bulk up to 75kg.
What this means is that Green has a lot of work to do in the gym when he heads to the Gold Coast but United coach Chris Binge thinks the young Campbell look-alike has the desire to succeed.
“He carries himself so well and fits in with all the boys,” Binge said.
“Tom Searle (Titans) was a bit worried about his size when he was looking at him but he has played every first-grade game except two so he's shown he can handle playing at another level.
“I never had a doubt he could play first grade but it took some convincing of him and his parents.
“I saw Preston Campbell play at the same age and I do see some similarities but I think maybe Tim is a bit stronger defensively.”
Meanwhile, Binge has surprisingly named Willie Hammond as halfback for the clash with Mullumbimby with former NRL pivot Michael Moran relegated to the bench.
Binge was coy about the move yesterday but obviously he was looking to add the size of Leon King to the back row while not dropping the aggressive Al McKenzie, who has moved to hooker to cover for Hammond.
Binge has also played down the fierce rivalry that has developed between the clubs since Mullumbimby coach Wayne Cullen accused the Dirawongs of dirty play in their previous encounter.
“As far as we're concerned we're going up to play footy and anything in the past is in the past,” he said.
“We've moved on and this is semi-final football, a completely different game, and Mullumbimby at Mullumbimby is tough at the best of times.”
The Giants have named a vastly experienced side for the clash, with five players having been long-term captains of various clubs.
Fullback Murray Brown (Mullum), five-eighth Scott Hogan (Mullum), halfback Troy Johnstone (Ballina), prop Luke Scott (Brothers) and lock Andrew Moroney (Mullum) - who is the captain - will provide plenty of direction for the home side.
“These boys have been there and done that so we know the intensity required to get the job done,” coach Wayne Cullen said.
“Suzie (Moroney) is the leader without a doubt and his performance against Cudgen last week was outstanding.”
Mullumbimby v Northern United at Les Donnelly Field, Mullumbimby, Sunday
Under-18s from 12 noon
Northern United: Fullback, Roy Bell; wingers, Steve Close, Anthony Robinson; centres, Fred Waters, Clarence Kelly; five-eighth, Burwood Robinson; halfback, Willie Hammond; props, Buddy King, Sione Tonga; hooker, Al McKenzie; second-rowers, Leon King, Len Hickling; lock, Alwyn Roberts (c). Bench: Paul King, Dave Fernando, Chris Swan, Michael Moran, Tim Green, Berrygan Green. Coach: Chris Binge.
Mullumbimby: Fullback, Murray Brown; wingers, Chad Grant, Corey Poole; centres, Jay Hampson, Jason Willis; five-eighth, Scott Hogan; halfback, Troy Johnston; props, Dan Molenaar, Luke Scott; hooker, Scott Gibson; second-rowers, Jared Flick, Andrew Moroney (c); lock, Mitch Morris. Bench: Adam McKenzie, Brett Archibald, Trent Richardson, Troy McArthur, Coach: Wayne Cullen.
Reserve grade: Ballina v Lower Clarence.
Under-18s: Ballina v Lower Clarence.