Muswellbrook Rams set their sights on Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League glory, starting with Sunday's minor semi-finals

Tom Storey (under-18s), Luke Cameron (reserves), Shae Pemberton (league tag), Zac Webb and Bailey Wooden (firsts)
Tom Storey (under-18s), Luke Cameron (reserves), Shae Pemberton (league tag), Zac Webb and Bailey Wooden (firsts)

THE ultimate goal is four titles.

But, Muswellbrook Rams president Kurt Dial’s fully aware of the enormity of the task facing the Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League club in 2018.

And, it all starts this weekend when the Rams host the minor semi-finals at Olympic Park on Sunday.

For the first time since 2001, Muswellbrook will field all its senior sides – firsts (v Singleton), reserves (v Murrurundi), under-18s (v Greta Branxton) and league tag (v Greta Branxton) – at home on the same day during the play-off series.

“I’ll admit, it doesn’t happen very often,” Dial said.

“It’s a good thing for the community – and the town.

“So, we’d love to see a massive crowd on hand to support everyone.

“It should be a great day of footy.

“In 2001, the firsts and reserves went through; we’d like similar success this weekend, plus more.

“I’m confident all the teams can win and progress to the next stage.”

For the Troy Hilder-coached outfit, the players will have to travel a different path to reach their third consecutive grand final after finishing third on the ladder.

“Yeah, we’re in a new position this time, compared to 2017,” Dial said.

“But, Aberdeen secured the crown from fourth spot last year, so it can be done.

“We need to take a leaf out of their book.

“And, I’m positive we have the team to do it.”

Unfortunately for the Rams, the club – as a whole – suffered a slight setback in the Where there’s a Will round, with Scone securing four victories.

“That was disappointing,” Dial said.

“However, it’s a much-needed wake-up call.

“It was a timely reminder for the reserves following a few good wins.

“The under-18s played well against a much-fancied side, too.

“League tag took the field under-strength but it was a good opportunity for a few of the younger girls.

“They now know what is expected, come semi-final time.

“The firsts were only pipped by two points. 

“So, they’ll need to be switched on [for Singleton] – and stay in the contest. 

“The Greyhounds boast a young half; it’s important to put pressure on him.

“As for our forwards, we’ll be relying on them to get us on the front foot.”

The first game, league tag, starts at 10am, with the firsts taking the field from 2.15pm.

Round 15 results

First grade –

Scone defeated Muswellbrook 26-24

Denman defeated Greta Branxton 80-6

Aberdeen defeated Singleton 44-26

Reserve grade –

Merriwa defeated Greta Branxton 32-16

Scone defeated Muswellbrook 34-12

Murrurundi defeated Denman 44-0

Aberdeen defeated Singleton 30-16

Under-18s –

Scone defeated Muswellbrook 24-16

Greta Branxton defeated Denman 18-14

Singleton defeated Aberdeen 54-16

Women’s league tag –

Merriwa defeated Greta Branxton 22-4

Scone defeated Muswellbrook 36-0

Murrurundi defeated Denman 18-8

Singleton defeated Aberdeen 46-6

Play-off series

Major semi-final

(Saturday, August 11, at McKinnon Field, Aberdeen)

11.45am: league tag, Scone v Merriwa

1pm: under-18s, Singleton v Scone

2.25pm: reserve grade, Aberdeen v Scone

4pm: first grade, Aberdeen v Scone

Minor semi-final

(Sunday, August 12, at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook)

10am: league tag, Greta Branxton v Muswellbrook

11.15am: under-18s, Muswellbrook v Greta Branxton

12.40pm: reserve grade, Murrurundi v Muswellbrook   

2.15pm: first grade, Muswellbrook v Singleton