GREATER Northern Tigers under-16 league tag coach Kate McCulloch "couldn't wipe the smile off her face" as her side cruised to an undefeated northern CRL Country Championships win.
The Tigers' girls posted 30 or more points in every game against fellow northern regions at the carnival in Glen Innes on Saturday.
They started their campaign with a comfortable 36-14 win over Northern Rivers and could not be stopped from there.
They went on to defeat North Coast 32-4 and Central Coast 30-4 to round out a highly-successful day.
"The Greater Northern girls were a pleasure to work with and impressed all who were involved," McCulloch said.
"It's one thing to have natural sporting ability, but these girls displayed more than that.
"They showed they have other characteristics successful athletes need such as commitment and coach-ability."
There is still one more hurdle before the under-16 side can call themselves country champions.
They will face southern titleholder Greater Southern in Wyong this weekend for the CRL crown.
McCulloch believes they have the talent to claim the trophy.
"Look, in all seriousness, if the girls play like they did in Glen I don't think they can be stopped," she said.
"Jules [Kirkpatrick], Matilda [Jones] and Caitlin [Warren] led the girls around with confidence in the halves and Tyla [Brown] was almost unstoppable running through the middle, while our outside backs were all reliable in both attack and defence.
"So, I reckon we will come back with the trophy.
"Hopefully we will get another training run Friday afternoon in Wyong to go over a few little thing such as our fifth play options, which we haven't really had a chance to work on.
"But, overall, I think we have what it takes to take them down.
"Only time will tell though."
Between now and then, McCulloch won't be changing much of their game plan but has one message to her team.
"The difference between a great team and a championship team is not in ability but in teamwork, intelligence and heart," she said.
"Play for each other, play smart and give it everything you've got.
"I believe you girls can win it, so make sure you believe in yourselves and don't come off wondering."
The Greater Northern area includes Hunter-based Group 21, Group 19 and Group 4.
The squad came together for three training sessions where McCulloch was able to get across her coaching technique quickly and easily to the talented youngsters.
"Every player had a job to do on the field and went out there to do it," she said.
"But, seriously I love coaching, particularly at this level because the girls are all there to learn and to win so they listen and respond to what is being asked of them.
"It makes my job easier so I'm really grateful for that."
McCulloch has coached at a local level for a number of years and made the step up to representative coaching as the mentor of the Group 19 senior women's tackle team.
She then went on to help out as assistant of the Tigers tackle outfit.
Saturday's northern win has her excited to pursue the role further.
"For me an aspiring coach, I too have goals for myself and want to go further in my coaching, so this really has boosted my confidence in my own ability," she said.
"I know I'm onto something with my coaching style and I'm ecstatic."
The open's women also contested the day with the Greater Northern team one win away from mirroring their younger counterparts' efforts.
Against Northern Rivers, the Tigers won 12-4 and then romped home against North Coast 28-0.
They were beaten in their final game against Central Coast 16-4.
The open's competition has been contested for a number of years but it is the first time the under-16s have donned regional jerseys.
"It was great that the girls got to play alongside the women," McCulloch said.
"It really gives them something to aspire to and role models to look up to."
Central Coast Roosters 28 (A Russell 2, R Mortell 2, R Dobbie, S Dimech tries; H Buchanan 2 goals) defeat North Coast Bulldogs K Briggs try; D Lawrence goal)
Greater Northern Tigers 12 (A Schmiedel, P Rankmore tries; A Barraclough 2 goals) defeat Northern Rivers Titans 4 (A Goode)
Central Coast Roosters 30 (M Barber 2, H Buchanan, R Mortell, S Higgins, K Clark tries; H Buchanan 3 goals) defeat Northern Rivers Titans 0
Greater Northern Tigers 28 (T Landsborough 2, A Schmidel, S Byrne, F Haggarty tries; A Barraclough 2 goals) defeat North Coast Bulldogs 0
Northern Rivers Titans 14 (H McAnelly, D Gordon, T Williams tries; S King goal) defeat North Coast Bulldogs 6 (K Briggs try; D Lawrence goal)
Central Coast Roosters 16 (H Buchanan, E Atkins, J Kelleher tries; H Buchanan goal, J Kelleher goal) defeat Greater Northern Tigers 4 (P Knox try)
Central Coast Roosters 36 (M Hardy 2, J Doyle, P McEwen, J Bender, E Carlisle, C Barwick tries; C Barwick 4 goals) defeat North Coast Bulldogs 12 (S King 2 tries; S King goal, T Singh goal)
Greater Northern Tigers 36 (L Hedley, J Kirkpatrick, M Jones, T Stewart, C De Gunst, T Brown, H Richards tries; T Stewart 2 goals, C De Gunst 2 goals) defeat Northern Rivers Titans 14 (J Anderson-King 2, C Acret tries; Z O'Reilly Leadbeatter goal)
Central Coast Roosters 20 (M Kasun 2, M Hardy, J Bender tries; C Barwick goals) defeat Northern Rivers Titans 12 (T Harley, B Raymond tries; Z O'Reilly Leadbeatter goal, B Raymond goal)
Greater Northern Tigers 32 (T Brown 2, H Richards 2 , K Gaukroger, K Landsborough tries; T Stewart 3 goals, C De Gunst goal) defeat North Coast Bulldogs 4 (T Lacey try)
Northern Rivers Titans 18 (J Anderson-King 2, B Raymond 2 tries; B Raymond goal) North Coast Bulldogs 14 (S King, E Wright, T Singh tries; T Singh goal)
Greater Northern Tigers 30 (R Bennett, J Kirkpatrick, T Brown, H Richards, C Warren, A Griffiths tries; E Watts, T Stewart, C De Gunst goals) defeat Central Coast Roosters 4 (P Pitt try)
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