2003 NSW Country Championship 1st Grade Minor Premiers – Premiers. Back: Ben McNally, Shane McCartney, Jarrod Costello, Trent Bryan, Mark Wilkinson, Pat Ginty, Todd Grose, Chris Potter. Middle: Tristan Hart, Brett Pincham, Phil Todd, Jay Van Meegan, Chris Timmins, Ben Morgan, Dale Jenkins, Faud Suljkanovic, Nigel Daniels, Ben Linde. Front: Paul Air, Rob Whitefield (manager), Aaron Beath (capt.), Glen Air, Brett Jones (coach), Ben Couchman. Absent: Shannon Jarvis, Mykel Hema.
Our 90th year was celebrated in an amazing fashion. Not only did our first graders win the major and minor Premierships, they also took out the NSW Country Rugby League Club Challenge Cup, the Club Championship and the University of Wollongong Fraternity Cup Sevens.
The pre-season started slowly with several players not returning from the previous year. We were looking short in several positions but just before the season started we were able to sign some new faces from the Cronulla area. These guys together with Glen Air, back from the Wests Magpies and Nigel Daniels, a former Collies junior more than filled the holes. The season started with the Sevens in February, where in the final Thirroul 20 (John Bailey 2, Ben Morgan, Shane English tries; Glen Air 2 goals) beat Italy 8. John Bailey was the man of the match. The sevens showed that we had the attacking talent to score tries from anywhere on the field.
Thirroul scored a comprehensive 42-26 win over Mudgee in the Final of the NSW Country Rugby League Challenge competition at Jubilee Oval, Mudgee on Saturday.
The Butchers led 20-0 at quarter time, 24-0 at the main break and 30-14 at three-quarter time
The return from injury of captain and five-eight Glen Air added composure and experience to the Butchers’ back line which was instrumental in their success.
Air set up a couple of tries and scored one himself, it was Air and his half-back partner, Aaron Beath, who controlled the play well on the back of hard work from their forward pack.
Playing in front of a big parochial Dragons crowd, Thirroul turned this disadvantage into an advantage by getting away to a dream start.
“Our timing was spot-on and we controlled the play in the first quarter” Thirroul coach Brett Jones said.
The Dragons were able to slow the game down in the second stanza as they struggled to get back in the contest.
And while Mudgee outscored the Butchers 10-4 in this period, Thirroul still held the advantage.
“ We got in a bit of trouble when they got a roll on and when the big crowd got behind them “,Jones Said
But we scrambled well when they were attacking us.
“Once we regained control and got our kicking game in order, we rolled over the top of them”.
Back rower Mykel Hema had a big game for a strong Butchers Pack, while Chris Potter shone in the back line.
The Butchers celebrations continued yesterday but from today they will put the Challenge cup success behind them to concentrate on their Illawarra Tooheys League Campaign starting against Wests at Gibson Park on Saturday.
Coach Brett Jones listed 24 players for these six matches. These were Chris Potter, Trent Bryan, Fuad Suljkanovic, Todd Grose, Glen Air, Aaron Beath, Ben Couchman, Shane McCartney, Brett Pincham, Mykel Hema, John Bailey, Ben Linde, Phil Todd, Ben Morgan, Pat Ginti, Jarrod Costello, Paul Air, Jay van Meegan, Dane Attenborough, Brett Hazelgrove, Mark Wilkinson, Chris Timmins, Luke McDonald, Dale Jenkinson. Jones contributes much of the seasons success to the way the team came together during the Country Cup. The trips to the country covered many Kilometres, but it helped the team grow together and learn to enjoy each others company. All the guys involved will remember those trips forever.
After Mudgee, we returned to the Illawarra Tooheys League, which for the previous 20 years or so, was known as the Illawarra Carlton League. Because of the Country Cup we had deferred matches to play with Helensburgh and Dapto, so the round three clash with Wests was our first game. Wests went to an early 10-0 lead, but Thirroul came home strongly, to win 22-14. One of the most memorable games of the season was against Port at home in late July. Before the biggest crowd for a comp game in around 30 years at Gibson Park, we beat Port Kembla in all three grades. This enabled the club to secure the first grade Minor Premiership and the Club Championship with two rounds remaining. In first grade, Thirroul 32 (Nigel Daniels 2, Paul Air, Chris Potter, Aaron Beath tries; Trent Bryan 6 goals) beat Port Kembla 12. The final first grade points table was Thirroul 32, Dapto 26, Port Kembla 26, Wollongong 26, University 20, Collegians 20, Wests 14, Helensburgh 10, Corrimal 6.
In the major semi on 24 August, Dapto upset Thirroul with their 34-22 victory. But a week later, the Butchers were impressive in their 42-12 win over Wollongong in the final. This set up an interesting Grand Final at WIN Stadium on Sunday 7 September. The same run on team was used in the final and Grand Final except Nigel Daniels had to be replaced in the Grand
Final after breaking his hand in the final. We started the grand final well and led 12-0 with tries to Potter & Bryan. Dapto fought back and eventually broke through the Butchers defence to reduce the lead to 12-10 at half time. Just before the interval big winger Chris Timmins unfortunately suffered a broken leg in trying to stop a Dapto try. Straight after half time Glen Air scored from his own short kick to extend the lead to 18-10. Dapto then stepped up the pressure and two tries gave the cannaries their first lead of the match at 22-18. The Butchers bounced straight back when they moved the ball wide for Ben Morgan to put Grose over in the corner. Bryan’s conversion from near touch put the butchers back in front 24-22. With five minutes remaining three of Thirroul’s favourite sons combined when brothers Paul and Glen Air provided the lead up work for Beath to score for a winning 28-22 lead. The canaries threw the kitchen sink at Thirroul in the final few minutes but the defence held and the premiership was heading north. Ben Linde was named as the Grand Final man of the match. Thirroul 28 (Chris Potter, Trent Bryan, Aaron Beath, Glen Air, Todd Grose tries; Trent Bryan 4 goals) beat Dapto 22. The Grand Final team was Chris Potter, Trent Bryan, Fuad Suljkanovic, Todd Grose, Chris Timmins, Aaron Beath (c), Paul Air, Pat Ginti, Mykel Hema, Dale Jenkinson, Jay Van Meegan, Ben Linde, Ben Couchman. On the interchange bench were Glen Air, Ben Morgan, Shannon Jarvis, Phil Todd, Jarrod Costello, Brett Pincham. This must go down as one of the most successful years in Butchers history and the side was unlucky not to be awarded the Claytons Cup for the best team in NSW country.
The reserves reached the final this year. It is interesting to note that Ty McCarthy scored 114 points (18 tries, 21 goals) for the under 18s who finished near the bottom of their competition in 2003. Joel Ruskin and Mark Sheppard were also prominent players in this under 18 side. Down the track all three are still with the club and played major roles in our 2012 first grade Grand Final win.
2003 NSW CRL Challenge Cup
THIRROUL 32? def QUEANBEYAN 18
Thirroul carried their winning form from the sevens over into the NSW Country Rugby League Club Challenge Cup with a 32-18 victory against Queanbeyan Blues at Seiffert Oval on Saturday.?With experienced captain and five-eight Glen Air calling the shots, the Butchers siognalled they will be a force in the Illawarra Tooheys League competition this year.?Butchers coach Brett Jones was very happy with the team’s reformance, especially the start when we established a 24-4 lead in the second quarter.?“ We lost our way in the third quarter and start of the fourth but dug right in towards the finish and came away with a good win,” Jones Said.?“Glen’s leadership and direction was really good”?Luke McDonald made a successfully transition from full-back to half-back, “Luke slotted into half-bake really well he likes the envolvement” Jones said?“they (Queanbeyan Blues) were a big , physical side but our smaller blokes were a bit too quick for them.”
However the Butchers win was clouded by a serious hip injury to front rower Ben Couchman late in the game. “Couchie copped a knee in the hip and had to come off.” Jones said, “Hopefull it’s muscular rather than cracked and that he won’t be out for long.”
Butchers 48 def WODEN VALLEY 4
Thirroul continued on th their winning way in the NSW Country Rugby League Challenge Cup competition by crushing Woden Valley 48-4 at Zeims Park on Saturday.?The Butchers led 6-4 at quarter time and 10-4 at half time before a blow-out came in the third quarter and final quarter.?Thirroul’s defence pleased coach Brett Jones who was impressed with his team’s overall performance.?“The best thing about it was their only try from a length of the field intercept,” Jones said,?“If he hadn’t intercepted, we would have scored,” “our attitude in defence was great” Jopnes named his best player as Aaron Beath, easily recognised with his lily white legs after spending the off season in England with Leigh Minors in the second division.?Front rower Mykel Hema also impressed his coach, as did former Thirroul junior Ben Morgan, back as a centre with the Butchers after a stint in Illawarra Rugby Union.?Thirroul’s only injury in the match was winger Chris Timmins with a strained hamstring, timmins is expected to be fit for the Butchers next Game.
BUTCHERS 40 def TUGGERANONG 14
Thirroul have advanced to the quarter-final of the NSW Country Rugby League Challenge Cup competition with a 40-14 win over Tuggeranong in Canberra on Saturday.The Butchers started well and led 6-4 at quarter-time but Tuggeranong fought back to lead 14-6 at half-time.?The seconded half was all Thirroul as they pilled on 34 unanswered points in the final two quarters.“We came back well in the third quarter when we started controlling the ball a bit better” Thirroul coach Brett Jones said yesterday.?“There was better selection with our passing, after we started off a bit willy-nilly.“ once we settle down to play to a pattern the tries started to come.”?Jones was pleased with all his players, especially 19 year old forward Brett Pincham, who moved from second row into the front row, full-back Chris Potter and centre Fuad Suljkanovic. The Butchers will play against Cobar next Saturday.
Butchers 56 def? COBAR 12
Three tries to classy centre Fuad Suljkanovic helped to a 56-12win over Cobar in a NSW Country Rugby League Challenge Cup competition quarter final at Gibson Park on Saturday.?But the win came at a cost with injury clouds over creative captain and five-eight Glenn Air and utility forward Jay Van-Meegan. Air, who scored two tries and assisted in three more, popped his left shoulder and came off the field midway through the second quarter, Van –Meegan was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm.?Had Air not been injured it would have been a cricket score. “I’ve got some movement in the shoulder, so that’s a good sign,” Air said after the game.?From the 44th second of the game when Suljkanovic dotted down between the posts for his first try and Aaron Beath converted, Cobar had no answer to the Butchers attack. Suljkanovic repaid Air in the fifth minute and they reversed it again in the eighth, with Beath adding extras for a 18-0lead.?Suljkanovic and Air combined again for Air’s second try and right on half-time Air held the ball up for full-back Chris Potter to score next to the posts.?The Butchers led 30-0 at quarter time and made it 36-0 when Suljkanovic and Air combined to put winger Trent Bryan over.Cobar prop Troy Hayman galloped 20m for the roosters first try, converted by second rower tom Goad, to make it 36-6 after 31 minutes.A short pass from Dane Attenborough sent Suljkanovic on his way for a hat trick and Beath’s conversion made it 42-6 at half-time.?Winger Chris Timmins and Todd Grose added tries and Beath conversion for a 52-6 score line at three-quarter time?In the final quarter Cobar second rower Nick Jenjsens scored and good converted before Butchers prop Mykel Hema was rewarded for a tireless game with a try.?Thirroul coach Brett Jones was pleased with the win and the brilliant attack produced by his team, “Fuad is so consistent” Jones said .?He sets the standards high and when he has a good game it doesn”t stand out that much because we’re used to a great game from him- today was one if them.?“He was getting pretty good service inside him from Aaron and Glen.?, We started off great but got bogged down into a bit of their play in the last two quarters. “In saying that, we still defended our line great.”?Jones was impressed with his forward pack, especially second rower Dale Jenkinson and Pat Ginti.?Jones said Air may be back this weekend but unless his captain is fit, he willnot risk him, but Van-Meegan could be out for some time.
BUTCHERS 26? def Gungahlin Bulls 20??
Thirroul advanced to the NSW Country Rugby League Challenge up final with a 26-20 win over Gungahlin Bulls in their semifal at West Belconnen Leagues Club ground on Saturday.?The Butchers controlled the second and third quarters before withstanding a Bulls challenge in the final quarter.?Thirroul led 6-4 at the first change, 12-8 at the long break and 24-8 at three-quarter time.?”Our defence scrambled well on our own line for a long time,” Thirroul coach, Brett Jones, said yesterday.”but our attack was fairly scrappy”.?The attacking cohesion could be directly attributed to the absence of injured captain and five-eight Glen Air who is the architect of thier play.?Todd grose and winger Chris Timmins played well in the Butchers back line while in the forwards hooker Shane McCartney was busy and prop Ben Couchman made a good return from being sidelined with a hip injury.?The Butchers will be without forward Jay Van-Meegan with a broken hand for the final against Mudgee this weekend.?In the Butchers quarterfinal against Cobar the previous Saturday, Van Meegan had sustained a suspected broken arm but x-ray subsequently cleared him of that serious injury.?Now he will be sidelined for between four to six weeks, “it’s bad luck for Jay but he’ll be back in due course “Jones said.?Air may return for the final although with two of their Illawarra Tooheys League games now deferred, The Butchers will not be taking any unnecessary chances with their star skipper.
BUTCHERS 42 def ?Mudgee 26?Butchers knife Dragons?Don Mahoney – Mudgee Guardian
?The Dragons quest to become the top Club team in Country New South Wales stumbled at the final hurdle played before a good crowd at Jubilee Oval on Saturday.?The Dragons were away to a horror start as the Thirroul Butchers posted their first after three minutes.?A fourth try to the Butchers Country representative Fuad Sulkjanovic saw the visitors race to a 20-0 lead by quarter time.?Dragons Captain/Coach Craig Wallace said it was disappointing that the Dragons did not complete one set of six in the first quarter.?“The game was won and lost in the first quarter,” Wallace said.?The Dragons then defended strongly and won the battle in the next two quarters.?The home side forwards carried a heavy workload as they rallied to try and make up the deficit.?The Dragons cause wasn’t helped with Warick Colley suffering an injury and not playing the full game.?However he opened the scoring for the Dragons in the second quarter before leaving the field.?Forwards Craig Wallace and Ben Gregory were the next two to score.?In a late change to the named team, Matt Lang came off the bench to play his first game for the Dragons Premier League team since leading the Dragons to their 2000 Premiership win.?Lang’s celebrated his return to the team and relished in scoring two of the team’s five tries.?Lang was among the Dragons better players along with Wallace, Gregory, Karl Weatherley and Kurt Gudgeon.?Wallace said that while it was a great effort for the Dragons to?-?TRY SCORER: Ben Gregory takes the ball up for the Dragons with Trent Bryan (2) and Fuad Sulkjanovic (3) ready to defend for the Butchers.?Mudgee were pulled up for a knock on in the first set of six of the game and the Thirroul backs led by captain Glen Air scored through winger Trent Bryan. Minutes later centre Todd Grose and then full back Chris Potter again found the Dragons defence wanting. reach the final in this prestigious competition, it wasdisappointing they did not get the win. In the first quarter we didn’t aim up our defence on their backs adequately,” Wallace said.“Their captain and five eighth, Glen Air, turned the ball inside?very effectively and we didn’t cover the situation adequately.“We also turned the ball over too often, especially in the first?quarter, before the tackle count was up. “All in all I am proud of the team and now look forward for the Group 10 season to start.”?Thirroul 42 (Tries Todd Grose 3, Trent Bryan 2, Chris Potter,?Fuad Sulkjanovic; goals ) def Mudgee 26 (Matt Lang 2, Warick?Colley, Craig Wallace, Ben Gregory; goals Warick Colley 2 and?Justin Shoulders 2 tries).
BUTCHERS 42 ?Mudgee 26 ?
by MIKE GANDON (Illawarra Mercury)??
Thirroul scored a comprehensive 42-26 win over Mudgee in the Final of the NSW Country Rugby League Challenge competition at Jubilee Oval, Mudgee on Saturday.?The Butchers had to win six games-four away and to at home-on their way to the Challenge Cup victory.?They led 20-0 at quarter time, 24-0 at the main break and 30-14 at three-quarter time?The return from injury of captain and five-eight Glenn Air added composure and experience to the Butchers’ back line which was instrumental in their success.?Air set up a couple of tries and scored one himself, it was Air and his half-back partner, Aaron Beath, who controlled the play well on the back of hard work from their forward pack.?Playing in front of a big parochial Dragons crowd, Thirroul turned this disadvantage into an advantage by getting away to a dream start.?”Our timing was spot-on and we controlled the play in the first quarter” Thirroul coach Brett Jones said.?The Dragons were able to slow the game down in the second stanza as they struggled to get back in the contest.?And while Mudgee outscored the Butchers 10-4 in this period, Thirroul still held the advantage.?” We got in a bit of trouble when they got a roll on and when the big crowd got behind them “,Jones Said?But we scrambled well when they were attacking us.?”Once we regained controll and got our kicking game in order, we rolled over the top of them”.?Back rower Mykel Hema had a big game for a strong Butchers Pack Chris Potter shone in the back line.?The Butchers celebrations continued yesterday but from today they will put the Challenge cup succfess behind them to concentrate on their Illawarra Tooheyss League Campaign starting against Wests at Gibson Park on Saturday.