AFTER playing all his rugby league with Muswellbrook, the desire to play division one in the HVCC was behind Bailey Ellis’ decision to switch to Singleton for his final year of juniors.
And, it has proved to be a good one for the St Joseph's High School Aberdeen student with his selection recently as halfback for the Country under-16 team.
Despite not actually playing a competition game yet for his new club due to deferrals, Ellis impressed at the Group 21 trials in February and was picked by the Hagan brothers, Tom and Ben, as the playmaker.
Group 21 contested two trial matches against Group 4 and Group 19.
From these games, a Greater Northern Tigers side was selected to tackle the Country Championships.
Ellis was again named in the halfback role.
With victories over the East Coast Dolphins and Central Coast Centurions, followed by a 10-all draw with the Newcastle Rebels, this secured the Tigers a spot in the semi-final against Bidgee Bulls.
Greater Northern came from behind to win with three minutes on the clock to then see them play the undefeated Western Rams.
The grand final took place as a curtain-raiser to the City versus Country fixture in Tamworth – to a sell-out crowd.
The Tigers again found themselves trailing until late in the match when Ellis put his winger over in the corner and landed a sideline conversion to level the scores at 12-all.
Then, with only seconds remaining, Greater Northern’s fullback touched down on the opposite wing to seal the win, handing Muswellbrook’s Gary Jones, the Tigers coach, his third consecutive triumph with the 16s.
Following the under-18 decider, the Country teams were announced with Ellis being named as halfback alongside fellow teammates Hayden Bourke (Singleton), Max Altus (Farrer) and Alek Hall (Farrer).
The boys will tour Samoa with the Country Firsts in October and play the curtain-raiser to the Samoa-Fiji Test in Apia.