The George Tooke Shield open men's competition has passed the mid-way point of its 2022 season. Here's a wrap of how each team is travelling and how they shape up heading into the back half of the year.
George Tooke Shield Open Men's
The Brahmans haven't had the greatest of starts to their 2022 campaign, suffering some hefty defeats this season.
Binalong finished in fifth position on the 2021 competition ladder at the competition's abandonment last year due to covid.
However, the Brahmans have struggled to replicate that form, having won only one game on the season.
Captain-coach James Croyden has led from the front for his beloved Binalong side, currently sitting inside the top ten for the GTS best and fairest award.
Binalong have a tough run home in their remaining five games of the season, facing three sides within the top five.
The Brahmans will need to put in some strong performances over their last six weeks of footy if they wish to make a late push for finals in August.
Boomanulla have had a disappointing year in the George Tooke Shield, as they remain winless on the season.
The Raiders showed promise over their opening month in the competition, losing by two tries to premiership contenders Cootamundra Bulldogs and a 10-point defeat to Binalong.
Since then, Boomanulla have only managed to score 28 points over their last six matches, conceding a total of 352 points to their opposition.
Their defence has been the let-down of their 2022 campaign, however they can search for improvements as they will play four consecutive home games to close out the year.
Backrower Patrick Booth has been one of the shining lights of their season, as he leads the club on the best and fairest ladder.
Booth was also selected in the George Tooke Shield representative side which played earlier in June.
The Rovers have enjoyed a successful 2022 campaign so far as they currently sit equal fourth with Cootamundra after nine rounds of the competition.
Boorowa have showcased some real consistency that we didn't see last season from them, which is something the club should be proud of.
The Rovers conceded narrow losses to the Harden Hawks and Cootamundra earlier in the season, where a win may well have pushed them into the top two on the ladder.
Nicholas Stephens has had an incredible year in the number one jumper, captaining the side from the back and leading his side on the best and fairest leaderboard.
Young centre Cooper Cross also experienced success throughout this year, captaining the George Tooke Shield u18's rep side.
The local Boorowa junior brings some other representative experience, having played in the Harold Matthews and Laurie Daley Cup in Sydney over the past 12 months.
Boorowa's opposite centre, Zac Patterson, has played outstanding on the edge for the Rovers this season, scoring nine tries in just seven games.
Boorowa shape up to have a tricky run home, taking on Harden, Cootamundra and Crookwell, who all sit above them on the ladder.
However, their young core of talent will sure to bring some impact through this back-end of the season as they strive for a finals birth.
Bungendore have had a near perfect season in 2022, as they currently sit all alone atop the competition ladder.
Led by their captain-coach Jack Bramley, the famous Bungendore side are installed for another crack at the GTS premiership, having won six games to start the year.
The Tigers only loss of the season came in round nine, when they were narrowly defeated 22-20 by Cootamundra on their home turf of Mick Sherd Oval.
After finishing second on last year's GTS ladder, the Tigers have continued their dominant form off the back of some key talent they've showcased over the course of this season.
Star halfback Carl Johnson has been one of the Tigers' best all year, scoring four tries and kicking 29 goals on the season. Not to mention, he currently sits third on the competition best and fairest leaderboard.
Fullback Daniel Jacobs and edge-backrower Jack Edwards have both been impressive for the Tigers, boasting seven tries each on the season.
Bungendore also had the most number of players selected in the GTS rep squad, with Daniel Jacobs, Luke Colquhoun, Jason Farnhill, and Brad Laurent who captained the side earlier in June.
Bungendore will set their eyes on the minor premiership, as they prepare for the final six weeks of the regular season.
Cootamundra have had a sound start to the season, winning five and conceding three losses over the course of the year.
The Bulldogs have been quite successful in closing out games, winning three of their games by 10 points or less.
Last year, the top four saw four points divide the Bears, Tigers, Hawks and the Bulldogs, where Cootamundra sit right on track for a similar finish to 2022.
Their out-of-character loss to seventh placed UC and their 14-point defeat to Crookwell have cruelled their chances of another shot at the minor premiership.
Captain-Coach Jordyn Ballard has demonstrated his true leadership over the course of 2022, leading the side on and off the field.
Ballard currently leads his side on the best and fairest leaderboard on eight points, including star forward Hayden Cowled and five-eighth Christopher Maher who both sit inside the top ten.
Cootamundra have a nice run home, where four of their last five matches are against teams who are positioned below them on the ladder.
Crookwell Green Devils
The Crookwell side have seen massive improvements over the course of their 2022 campaign.
Last year the Green Devils were on the end of a few narrow losses, which saw them plummet toward the bottom of the ladder.
However Crookwell have had success throughout this season, led by a playing group mixed with young talent and experience, they have showed consistency as they approach the backend of the season.
The signings of brothers Aaron and Brock Gray have had a huge impact on the side.
Bringing tons of NRL experience, Aaron has been a handful in the centres, with Brock lining-up in the backrow where he has crossed for 12 tries in seven games.
Crookwell forward Dion Aramoana has also led the way for the regional side, currently sitting in the top five on the best and fairest leaderboard.
Aramoana has now played 90 games for the Green Devils and continues to pave the way for their young group of talent that has emerged from their u19's squad.
Crookwell, who currently sit second in defence and fourth in attack, will look to challenge the top two as they approach finals footy in late August.
The Harden Hawks have had a tremendous start to the year, currently sitting in second position on the ladder after nine rounds of the competition.
In particular the Hawks have showcased their strong attack where they're currently ranked second in the competition, piling on an incredible 254 points in eight games.
The only disappointment have been Harden's two losses, which have come to the hands of top of the table Bungendore, and the reigning minor premiers North Canberra Bears.
Notably, the incumbent George Tooke Shield rep side number seven, Jacob Lucas, has been outstanding in 2022 for the Harden Hawks.
Lucas made the switch from his junior club of Young Cherrypickers to join forces with the Harden side this season. It has turned out to be a good one, as the young halfback currently leads the best and fairest leaderboard, and his side to the number two seed on the ladder.
His halves partner, Lane Gaudie, is also having quite the season, leading the competition in points with eight tries and 26 goals this year.
Harden will take on Bungendore in round ten of the competition in a battle of the top two, as both teams set their eyes on the minor premiership.
North Canberra Bears
The Bears have had a rocky start to their 2022 campaign as they currently sit one place outside finals in sixth position.
North Canberra enjoyed a successful season last year, prematurely taking out the minor premiership award at the competition's abandonment.
However, there's been some early struggles for the Bears who have been on the end of some hefty defeats to Crookwell and Cootamundra, who both sit in-front of them on the ladder.
North Canberra have experienced some challenges with injuries, including a season-ending injury to their halfback Zach Smith which will sure to leave a gap in the side.
The highlight for the Bears this season has been their defense, where they currently sit third in the competition, only conceding 128 points after nine rounds.
Keresoma Sione has been impressive for the Bears this season, with back-to-back man of the match performances in their side's important wins over UC and Harden.
Sione also leads the way on the competition's best and fairest ladder, boasting seven tries in only five games in the red, white and black.
The Bears have a tricky schedule for the run home, where they face four sides above them on the ladder over the final six weeks.
North Canberra will need to find some consistency and try to replicate their form which saw them so dominant last season.
The Stars have continued to show their competitive spirit across 2022, improving out of sight from last season where they finished last on the ladder.
The University side had a horror start, losing their opening two games before shocking top four side Cootamundra with a 22-18 victory in round four.
This win got their season rolling, where UC went on to win their next two consecutive games to push them up the ladder.
The Stars would be impressed with their efforts over the course of 2022, competing with the top sides of Bungendore and Harden for the better part of 80 minutes.
Kurt Johnstone has led the way for the UC side, sitting inside the top five on the best and fairest ladder.
Johnstone was awarded man of the match in their big win over Boomanulla, and named best on ground in a losing outfit against Bungendore in round eight.
The Stars are only two placings outside the top five and still have plenty of time to make a late finals run.
Image by Richard Glover