A REUNION of the Austin brothers could pay big dividends for the Scone Thoroughbreds when the Hunter Valley Group 21 premiers kick-start their title defence this weekend.
Twenty-two-year-old prop Tyler is returning to the fold, after spending the past three seasons in Group 9, to join second-rower/lock Isaac, 20, in the club’s first grade line-up.
“It’s one of the main reasons I came back,” he said.
“We haven’t played alongside each other since school,” Isaac added.
“So, we’re looking forward to the opportunity if given the chance.”
The siblings, recently selected in the Group 21 under-23 representative squad, admitted the mood in the Thoroughbreds’ camp was “positive”.
“The numbers have been good at training [under new coach Wes Suckley],” Isaac said.
“It’s a relaxed atmosphere at the moment.
“And, although we have a few newcomers on board, a lot of the younger blokes are ready to step up.
“The competition will definitely be stronger in 2017, especially the likes of Aberdeen [Tigers] and Muswellbrook [Rams].”
The Thoroughbreds open their account against the Singleton Greyhounds at home on Sunday.
“We haven’t had a trial as yet, especially with the cancellation of the Scanlon Shield,” Isaac said.
“So, it’ll be tough first up – and a chance to get the cobwebs out.”
It’s been almost eight months since Scone lifted the trophy at Olympic Park, following a nail-biting 16-14 victory over the Rams.
But, the Austins don’t believe there is any pressure on the Thoroughbreds to succeed again.
“It’s about time we won a grand final,” Tyler said.
“However, it’s the goal to go back-to-back.”
Round one draw:
Saturday, April 22 –
5.15pm: first grade, Denman Devils v Aberdeen Tigers
3.50pm: reserve grade, Denman Devils v Aberdeen Tigers
2.35pm: under-18s, Denman Devils v Muswellbrook Rams
1.30pm: league tag, Denman Devils v Aberdeen Tigers
Sunday, April 23 –
2pm: first grade, Muswellbrook Rams v Greta Branxton Colts
12.30pm: reserve grade, Muswellbrook Rams v Merriwa Magpies
11.30am: league tag, Muswellbrook Rams v Merriwa Magpies
2pm: first grade, Scone Thoroughbreds v Singleton Greyhounds
12.35pm: reserve grade, Scone Thoroughbreds v Singleton Greyhounds
11.20am: under-18s, Scone Thoroughbreds v Singleton Greyhounds
10.20am: league tag, Scone Thoroughbreds v Singleton Greyhounds