Muswellbrook Rams eye off four titles in BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League

SEMI-FINAL BOUND: Muswellbrook Rams captains Cressa Harris (league tag), Zac Hurst (reserves), Cade Boney (firsts) and Bailey Taylor (under-18s).
SEMI-FINAL BOUND: Muswellbrook Rams captains Cressa Harris (league tag), Zac Hurst (reserves), Cade Boney (firsts) and Bailey Taylor (under-18s).

“IT’S a pleasure to be a part of the club.”

That’s the sentiment of Muswellbrook Rams president Kurt Dial, as the organisation prepares to host the BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League major semi-final at Olympic Park on Saturday.

A victory there, over the Singleton Greyhounds, would ensure the 2017 decider remains in town, too.

And, for the first time in more than five seasons, the Rams will be featured in all grades over the weekend.

Apart from the feature match, Muswellbrook also tackles the Greyhounds in the under-18s at home, while the reserves and women’s league tag teams meet Scone and Singleton respectively at Scone Park on Sunday.

“It’s an awesome effort,” Dial said.

“It [four semi-finalists] hasn’t occurred for us since 2011.

“It also shows our faith in the coaching staff is paying off.

“In fact, everyone, from the players to the committee, has done a great job.

“So, hopefully, we’ll get a big crowd down here to cheer the teams on.”

While the Rams claimed the minor premiership with a handy five-point buffer, the Greyhounds have been a thorn in their side throughout the year.

Two of Muswellbrook’s three losses were executed by Singleton.

“The guys certainly have a point to prove,” Dial said.

“We’ll need to stick to our structure – and grind it out.

“The Greyhounds boast a lot of experience, with the likes of Russell Richards, Chris Martin, the Solman brothers and Luke Gardiner.

“If we can weather the storm, I have no doubts about our ability to get the job done.

“We have speed to burn out wide – with Lennie Craft, Jacob and Daniel Ellis.

“They know their way to the tryline.

“But, the forwards must set the platform.

“Rohan Pottinger’s been sensational this season, while Dylan Thorne has made a huge impact in the competition.

“Reggie Saunders, Liam Dunn and Andrew Pritchard are strong in the back-row, too.

“They need to make room for playmaker Cade Boney to ignite the backs.”

Weekend draw:

Saturday –

Major semi-final at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook

4.15pm: first grade, Muswellbrook v Singleton

2.40pm: reserve grade, Singleton v Aberdeen

1.15pm: under-18s, Muswellbrook v Singleton

Noon: women’s league tag, Merriwa v Murrurundi

Sunday –

Minor semi-final at Scone Park, Scone

2.15pm: first grade, Scone v Aberdeen

12.40pm: reserve grade, Scone v Muswellbrook

11.15am: under-18s, Denman v Scone

10am: women’s league tag, Singleton v Muswellbrook