GREATER Northern Tigers under-16 coach Steve Haylen has made some key changes to his line-up for this Saturday's do or die Andrew Johns Cup match with the North Coast Bulldogs at the Port Macquarie Regional Sports Stadium.
The youngsters have lost both games so far, dropping last weekend's second round match 22-14 to the Central Coast Roosters at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School's John Simpson Oval in Tamworth.
The side led 10-0 after 16 minutes courtesy of tries from Jake Clydsdale and Aidan Bermingham.
However, it went pear-sharped after that, reported the Muswellbrook mentor.
"We capitulated," said Haylen, a former outstanding Tiger prop himself.
"We made too many mistakes and got away from the game plan."
Post-match stats showed the team had a 44 per cent completion rate, a statistic that won't win you many games, Haylen added.
The dressing shed resembled a funeral after the game, he continued, as he hopes the disappointment can transform the side and help lift it to a winning combination come February 29.
"A few players have struggled a bit to understand what they need to do at this level," Haylen said.
"They are all good kids."
However, his outfit - which includes Group 21's Malik Hunt (Aberdeen), Corben Hampstead (Singleton), Hunter Marsh (Denman), Junuh Warden (Scone), Jake Clydsdale (Scone), Callum Goodwin (Singleton), Ben Jones (Aberdeen), Thomas Donehue (Singleton) and Matthew Jones (Aberdeen) - will have a slightly different look, too.
He's made changes in the halves, moving tryscoring hooker Aidan Bermingham, who has scored three tries so far this campaign, to halfback.
The Farrer schoolboy's form at number nine has been one of the highlights for the Tigers so far, Haylen added.
"Jake [Clydsdale] has been outstanding at prop," he said of the Scone number 10 who snared Greater Northern's first try in Saturday's eight-point loss to the Roosters.
"He's been our best player, an enormous young bloke who has worked hard on his game.
"He's the younger brother of Adam [Clydsdale]."
Haylen hopes the side can bounce back from its "terrible start" and have "everything to play for".
"A win will give us a glimmer of hope," he said.
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS
Teams to play North Coast Bulldogs at Port Macquarie Regional Sports Stadium, Saturday, February 29
Coach - Steve Haylen (Muswellbrook), assistant coach - Brad McManus (North Tamworth): 1 Malik Hunt (Aberdeen), 2 Lewis Hippi (North Tamworth), 3 Corben Hampstead (Singleton), 4 Hunter Marsh (Denman), 5 Archer Harrison (Gunnedah), 6 Kurt Fisher (Gunnedah), 7 Aidan Bermingham (Farrer), 8 Maxwell Smith (Farrer), 9 Junuh Warden (Scone), 10 Jake Clydsdale (Scone), 11 Callum Goodwin (Singleton), 12 Joash Boney (North Tamworth), 13 Malakai Griffiths (Glen Innes), 14 Billy Youman (Guyra), 15 Ben Jones (Aberdeen), 16 Thomas Donehue (Singleton), 17 Jack Grob (Glen Innes), 18 Matthew Jones (Aberdeen)
Coach - Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (North Tamworth), assistant coach - Richard Ingram (North Tamworth): 1 Brayden Reid (Kootingal), 2 Mac Shepherdson (Denman), 3 Jacob Sukanaivalu (Singleton), 4 Luke Smith (Denman), 5 Harrison Freeman (Dungowan), 6 Mitch Henderson (Kootingal), 7 Pichai Dixon (Aberdeen), 8 Kalab McMillan-Bassett (Narrabri), 9 Liam Ball (North Tamworth), 10 Jack Todd (Dungowan), 11 Dan Kelly (North Tamworth), 12 Jackson Shade (Singleton), 13 Kobe Bone (North Tamworth), 14 Blake Ginman (Dungowan), 15 Mark Simon (North Tamworth), 16 Hugh Collins (Aberdeen), 17 Seb Pianko (North Tamworth), 18 Toby Taggart (Kootingal)
ANDREW JOHNS CUP
Round 2 - John Simpson Oval, Farrer
CENTRAL COAST ROOSTERS 22 (Benjamin Taylor (19th m), Lauchlan Bissaker (22m), Ty Harris (40m), Bryce Davis (47m) tries; Lauchlan Bissaker 3 goals) d GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS 14 (Jake Clydsdale (10th min), Aidan Bermingham (16m), Lewis Hippi (57m) tries; Mitchell Kemp goal)
Other games: GSR Tigers drew with Illawarra South Coast Dragons 16-all, Eels d North Coast Bulldogs 24-14, Northern River Titans d Newcastle Knights 28-22, Penrith Panthers d Riverina Bulls 26-0, Western Rams d Monaro Colts 20-8
ANDREW JOHNS CUP TABLE: Panthers 4, Rams 4, GSR Tigers 3, Eels 2, NC Bulldogs 2, NR Titans 2, Knights 2, CC Roosters 2, Illawarra SC Dragons 1, GN Tigers 0, Monaro Colts 0, Riverina Bulls 0