BINALONG rugby league faithful must be anxiously awaiting an announcement regarding the return of the Binalong Brahmans to the 2013 George Tooke Shield competition with all their old sparring partners going hammer and tongs at each other with only a couple of rounds left in 2012.
The competition table shows Boorowa and Hall sharing the lead on 18 points, hot on their heels are the Harden Hawks and the Bungendore Tigers with a credit of 16 points each. If the (George Tooke Shield) committee continue with a top five format in the semi-finals, then the Boomanulla raiders would take out fifth position on 10 competition points. At the end of round 11, Boorowa had a better differential on plus 161 and have a strong attack but a tendency to leak more points than the Hall Hornets.
However, both these clubs have had all their allocated byes, whereas the Hawks, Tigers and Boomanulla still have one bye in hand.
The Boorowa Rovers have been playing a solid brand of football in 2012 and must be favoured for a grand final appearance. Rovers prop Sam Lynam has been instrumental in making yards for his team and coach Danny Lalliard has made a fine job of elevating the Rovers to the top of the 2012 George Tooke Shield table.
Former co-captain/coach of the Brahmans Conor Dacey, now playing in the back row for the Hall Hornets, has the advantage of having appeared in two previous grand finals. The kicking game of Hornets full back Will Parsons will test the very best of opponents.
The Harden Hawks have played two former Brahmans in Jonny Hill and Lewis Grange this year and in his swansong year Jason Pollard was a member of the old Southwest Brahmans team. The hard running Daniel Drew and Joel Blundell are constant threats to defence lines at every level. Like Harden, the Bungendore Tigers have lost three games in 2012 and have a better attack than Boorowa but tend to defend poorly with a differential of plus 97 at the end of Round 11.
For this reason it will be difficult for the Tigers to make a grand final this year. The Boomanulla Raiders have been disappointing; having lost six games they still have a differential which is better even than Harden at plus 115 but with only 10 competition points it’s hard to see them making a late run.
The two remaining clubs, Goulburn Exchange Rabbitohs and Crookwell Green Devils, who have both been starved of players this year, have managed only the one win and 17 defeats between them.
George Tooke Shield has sported as many as 11 teams in the recent past and it is lamentable that the competition has descended to this level. We can but hope a stronger field will nominate in 2013. There are some big matches still scheduled for the remainder of the season, none bigger than the clash between Boorowa and the Hornets at Hall on August 18, which will most likely decide the minor premiership for this competition.
Binalong residents may well be hoping another Brahmans team in the New Year will have a positive impact on the George Tooke Shield.