Scone Thoroughbreds president admits he's surprised by the Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League club's early season success

THRILLED: Scone Thoroughbreds president Tom Hagan admits he is surprised by the Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League club's success again in 2019.
THRILLED: Scone Thoroughbreds president Tom Hagan admits he is surprised by the Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League club's success again in 2019.

DEFENDING one premiership can be a huge challenge for any sporting club, let alone four titles.

But, the Scone Thoroughbreds are well-placed to achieve that feat against the odds in 2019.

After securing the first grade, reserve, under-18 and league tag crowns in spectacular fashion last August, the Group 21 organisation is already on track for another big showing this season.

The club holds top spot in both the men and women's senior grades, while the 'seconds' have only dropped points once and the juniors are showing constant improvement.

The early season success has even caught president Tom Hagan off-guard.

"Although we're only six rounds into the competition, we've had a terrific start in all four grades," he said.

"We weren't sure how we'd shape up this year as we lost a few players in each grade - and didn't really replace them."

The side has lost almost half a dozen players from last season's firsts' grand final side, and Hagan said the only real addition has been Adam Cyldsdale, although he has shown incredible form since joining.

A tough preseason, quality coaching staff and deeply engrained desire to win have been the keys to continuing their form from 2018 said the president.

"It was tough on those hot summer days, but we're seeing it pay dividends at the moment," he said.

"It was so good [in 2018] capturing all four grades, everyone's got a taste for it now.

"I think that's what everyone is aiming for again, I know it will be hard to repeat but that's what we're hoping for."

The Aaron Watts-mentored outfit sits atop the ladder with half a dozen consecutive victories - six points clear of second-placed Aberdeen Tigers.

Despite some concern prior to the season's beginning about the strength of first grade, the likes of Jake Collison, Jake Watts, Nick Watson and James Eveleigh have stepped up from reserves to restore faith in the squad's quality.

Hagan was keen to wave off any noise about a perceived lack of competitiveness by some regarding it being a four team competition.

"It's not diminishing our effort," he said.

"I know there's talk that every side is guaranteed to make the finals, but we can only worry about what we're doing - the rest can worry about themselves.

"If clubs are saying they're not too worried about what happens during the year, it's probably not the right attitude."

Invigorated by the weekend off, Hagan said the Thoroughbreds' attention would turn to the Tigers again when the arch rivals meet at Scone Park on Sunday, June 16.

Scone already boasts the honours having triumphed 28-8, 40-22 and 48-8 in their three previous fixtures.

"The bye came at the perfect time," Hagan said.

"We do have an ageing squad; we're not getting any younger.

"Aaron told us if we had a win, and played well [in round five], he'd give us some time off, which all the boys looked forward to.

"We know the job isn't over yet."

Round seven draw:

(at Scone Park)

10.20am: league tag, Scone v Aberdeen

11.20am: under-18s, Scone v Aberdeen

12.30pm: reserve grade, Scone v Aberdeen

2pm: first grade, Scone v Aberdeen

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