Northern Rivers Titans proved a worthy Johns Cup champion side at Mudgee

Up against a side that needed a plane flight and then a four-hour bus trip just to make it to the venue, home ground advantage was supposed to mean something to Western in the 2019 Andrew Johns Cup final.

It didn't though.

Not in the face of a extremely confident Northern Rivers Titans outfit.

Led brilliantly by half Tom Weaver, the Cudgen young-gun won man of the match honours, the Titans showed immense resilience to both put behind them a near-day-long commute from the north east of NSW and repel a number of strong Western raids at Glen Willow on Saturday to come out on top 18-6 winners.

Weaver's side led 12-0 at the break and then extended that advantage to 18 points after defending their line for nearly 10 minutes straight before the gun No.7 picked up a loose pass and raced 90 metres to score and break the back of the hosts.

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The newly anointed NSW Country under 16s half said his side arrived at Mudgee with plenty of belief and that translated into a stunning Johns Cup victory.

"Bloody oath we did," he beamed when asked if the Titans came to Glen Willow confident of inflicting Western with their first Johns Cup loss in nearly two years.

"Our training all through the season has been with a lot of energy and our defence in the second half showed what we can do.

"It was good to know all the boys were there to put in the hard work and it shows in the game, it shows in our defence, all that effort. Me running 90 metres, that was for all the work the boys did down there." 

Weaver was one of 15 country players selected that played in the final on Saturday, with both Western and Northern Rivers rewarded for tremendous campaigns firstly in their respective southern and northern pools and then through the finals, too.

CHAMPIONS: The Northern Rivers claimed the 2019 Andrew Johns Cup. Photo: NICK McGRATH

CHAMPIONS: The Northern Rivers claimed the 2019 Andrew Johns Cup. Photo: NICK McGRATH

Braye Porter, Kyle Mahwinney, Jackson Gersbach, Aston Warwick, Matthew Noakes and Finnley Neilson were the Rams guns awarded country jumpers.

The visiting Rivers side got the jump early in the decider thanks to tries to lock Bayley Cox and then the super impressive Rowan Mansfield out wide to skip out to a 12-0 lead at the break.

Weaver's sensational solo effort come the 51st minute virtually spelled the end of the Rams but a well deserved try five minutes from time from Rams skipper Finnley Neilson meant the hosts got the on the board in the decider.

The young Rams battled to handle the grand stage of the country championship final at Glen Willow and that put a massive dent in their early efforts.

"I think there was a lot of nervous energy in that first half," Rams coach Tony Woolnough said.

"We were probably trying too hard and that led to a few mistakes, got us on the back foot and we never really recovered.

"They're a good team and they proved that today. It was hard to find a way through."

  • NORTHER RIVERS TITANS 18 (Rowan Mansfield, Tom Weaver, Bayley Cox tries; Tom Weaver 3 goals) def WESTERN RAMS 6 (Finnley Neilson try; Matt Noakes goal)