GREATER Northern Tiger junior teams are ready to step up in tough starts to their country championship campaigns

GREATER Northern Tiger junior teams are ready to step up in tough starts to their country championship campaigns at Aberdeen's McKinnon Oval on Saturday.

The Tiger Under 16 and 18 sides tackle North Coast in their opening round clashes with the Brett Jarrett-coached 16's beginning a big day with an 11am kickoff against the Bulldogs.

Greater Northern Tigers regional manager, Scott Bone, said both sides have been in training since November last year.

The Under 16's particularly, coached by Brett Jarrett, have been impressive, winning a recent trial against Newcastle and working hard in the off-season.

"We started with a squad of 34 and now have it down to a squad of about 24.

"We can only play 18 this weekend but it is quite likely all of them will play at some stage because of injuries."

The Tigers have five rounds to play, four against teams from their half of the competition and then a cross over match against Western Division.

"All 18 players in the 16's this weekend have come through the NIAS program," he said of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport.

James Cooper is the NIAS CEO and the premiership winning North Tamworth prop expects them to play well after seeing many of them come through the NIAS program.

"A lot of them did come through our programs," James Cooper said.

"Last year was a bit different, we ran a satellite program basically about skill development. We had satellite sessions in Group 4, 19 and 21 and then came together in a combined session that the Canterbury Bulldogs came up for.

"It was a good reflection on the NSWRL Pathways system."

He also said some players such as Mark Simon (18s prop) reckoned the NIAS tour to Fiji two years ago were "great eye-openers".

"Mark Simon told me recently he learnt so much playing over there (with NIAS)," James Cooper said.

GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS v NORTH COAST BULLDOGS

McKinnon Oval, Aberdeen - Saturday February 6

ANDREW JOHNS CUP

Under 16's - kickoff 11am.

GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS

1: Riley Pennell (Scone), 2 Drewe Gilbert (Scone), 3 Tully Whollert (Singleton), 4 Riley Witherdin (Dungowan), 5 Jack Smyth (Singleton), 6 Charlie Henderson (Farrer), 7 Callum Dowell (Scone), 8 Matthew Ross (Gunnedah), 9 Talon Harrington (Scone), 10 Sebastian Lawler (Tamworth Collegians), 11 Lachlan Bonnell (Dungowan), 12 Logan Spinks (Farrer), 13 Nathaniel Follington (Farrer), 14 Jacob Cordina (Scone), 15 Jasper Thistle (Dungowan), 16 Brady Roser (scone), 17 Harrison Vermeulen (Farrer), 18 Gabriel Stafa (Singleton). Coach - Brett Jarrett (Dungowan

Photo supplied: Singleton Junior Rugby League Football Club

Photo supplied: Singleton Junior Rugby League Football Club

NORTH COAST BULLDOGS

1 Elijah Coles, 2 William Hogan, 3 Luke Calthorpe, 4 Connor Latham, 5 Bill Butlin, 6 Navren Willett, 7 Hamish Wilson, 8 Lachlan Mifsud, 9 Hudson Harmer, 10 Tavis Felsch, 11 Harrison Brennan, 12 Jack Margetts, 13 Emannuel Degle, 14 Kristan Doolan, 15 Jacob Earl, 16 Joel Power, 17 Diem Mason-Woods, 18 Joshua Margetts. Coach - Brendan Pellegeino.

LAURIE DALEY CUP

Under 18's - kickoff 12.20pm

GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS

1 Mitch Henderson (Farrer), 2 Jesse Cadalbert (Scone), 3 Blake Johnston (Scone), 4 Corben Hampstead (Singleton), 5 Dylan Smith (Werris Creek), 6 Ethan Antzakles (Farrer), 7 Pichai Dixon (Aberdeen), 8 Mark Simon (North Tamworth), 9 Harry Reid (Singleton), 10 Jake Clydesdale (Scone), 11 Luke Smith (Denman), 12 Hayden Bull (Scone), 13 Samuel Fechner (Werris Creek), 14 Ned Chapman (Denman), 15 Toby Taggart (Farrer), 16 Alexander Lawrence (Moree), 17 Charlie Parsons (Werris Creek), 18 Billy Youman (Guyra), 19 Daniel McMillan (Narrabri), 20 Joash Boney (North Tamworth). Coach - Darryl Rando (Scone).

NORTH COAST BULLDOGS

1 Tirell Dungay, 2 Joshua Power, 3 Corey Lewis, 4 Christopher Bull, 5 ?, 6 Timothy Bull, 7 Aston Pollard, 8 Riley Mylrea, 9 Grady Spokes, 10 Travys Downton, 11 Peter Conroy, 12 ?, Benjamin Brennan, 14 Ty-Jesse Brabant, 16 Ryan Maloney, 17 Bailey Thompson, 18 Oshay Tyerman. Coach - Dan Kemp.