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The Monaro Colts are in pursuit of glory in the Men's Country Championships and the Laurie Daley Cup, as both sides shape up for their Grand Final clashes this Sunday in Cessnock.

Monaro will face the Newcastle Rebels in the Men's Country Championships, while the Laurie Daley Cup side come up against the Northern Tigers. 

Both matches will be played at Cessnock Sportsground with the Laurie Daley Cup side kicking off at 12:15pm, followed by the Men's Country Championships at 2:00pm. 

Both games will be LIVE on NSWRL TV via subscription.  

Laurie Daley Cup 

Monaro Colts v Newcastle Rebels, Cessnock Sportsground, Cessnock 12:15pm Sunday March 24th 

Team List
1. James CROKER
2. Brady SMITH 
3. Luke TUIALII 
4. Harry HUDSON
5. Lachlan CUNANAN
6. Clinton LATHAM
8. Alex HARDY
9. Mitchell BROPHY 
11. Joseph ELTON
12. Toby FERRIS
13. Dylan WATKINS
14. Yuri HROMOW 
15. Ash FLINT
16. Sam LEVER
18. Sam GRIFFIN 
19. Patrick DAWSON

Monaro's Laurie Daley Cup side come into this Sunday with plenty of confidence after finishing first in their pool and securing a comfortable semi-final win against a strong Central Coast outfit. 

They come up against an unbeaten Northern Tigers side who topped the Northern Conference with four wins and one draw, before defeating Macarthur in the semi-final. 

The Colts play without one of their key forwards, prop Jesse Milin, who was handed a suspension for a lifting tackle. 

"We have the next man up mentality," said head coach Brendan Bradley. 

"We’re up against it, the boys know that, but we’ll lift".

The Colts had a slow start to the competition, losing to Central Coast 14-0 in round one. 

"It was a bit of a reality check for the boys," said Bradley. 

"They’ve come a long way since then, they probably went up there with the wrong attitude".

For the remainder of the pool stages, Monaro dominated in all four matches which saw them finish atop the Southern Conference. 

Seeking redemption from their round one loss, the Colts went on to defeat Central Coast 26-18 in the semi-final.

Halfback Jonah Anderson had a phenomenal playmaking performance that game, setting up three try's and crossing for one of his own. 

The quick and crafty halfback will be pivotal for Monaro to get the win on Sunday. 

"Jonah's been the form player of the whole comp, he's the standout, there's no doubt about that". 

Monaro now get the chance to rewrite the wrongs from last year's Laurie Daley Cup Grand Final, where they narrowly fell short 26-24 to Illawarra South Coast.

"As the coach, I’m coming in with more confidence this year". 

Men's Country Championships

Monaro Colts v Newcastle Rebels, Cessnock Sportsground, Cessnock 2:00pm Sunday March 24th 

Team List 
1. Jack DAVISON  
2. Brandon WITHERS 
3. Brigham MOEAKIOLA 
4. Gideon AFEMUI
5. Jake KIELY 
6. Matthew WOOLNOUGH
7. Samuel WILLIAMS
8. Jesse MARTIN
9. Liam OAKLEY 
10. Bradley PRIOR
11. Josh AYERS
12. Jesse DENT
13. Bayley HITCHCOCK 
14. Loch INGRAM 
15. Thomas BETHKE
16. Nick NAVARRO
17. Jeff MORGAN
18. Sonny TEPOLA 
19. Levita LEVITA

Monaro's Men's Country Championships side are excited for the opportunity and won't shy away from the challenge that this Sunday's Grand Final matchup possesses. 

They face the reigning champions of the competition, the Newcastle Rebels, who are coming off a 52-0 semi-final win against the Northern Tigers last week. 

The Rebels boast a stacked line-up with the likes of ex-NRL players Blake Ferguson and Will Smith, and lead by former head coach of the Gold Coast Titans Garth Brennan. 

Captain/Co-coach of Monaro and former Canberra Raider Sam Williams says the team is excited for the opportunity. 

"I know for some of the boys in our side, to play against the quality that Newcastle have, it’s a really good opportunity for them," said Williams.

"It’s not going to be easy, there’s no doubt that they’re the pinnacle at the moment, but we go out there and give ourselves every opportunity by being there". 

Head coach Jason Kelly is adamant that the key to success lies in how Monaro starts the game. 

"We have to be good from the start, we have to be disciplined, and we need to complete our sets," said Kelly. 

"We feel if we trade punches with them early, we’ll be able to come into the game more and more.

"If we complete at a high percentage, particularly in that first half, we’ll be in the game."

The Colts have already had a massively improved campaign compared to last year, where they suffered a 46-12 round one loss to the Riverina Bulls. 

This year, they've redeemed themselves against Riverina with a gritty 36-30 win, followed by a tightly contested 12-8 semi-final triumph over Northern Rivers. 

Monaro now face their biggest challenge yet against an intimidating Newcastle side, who enjoy what is essentially a home ground advantage in Cessnock. 

"It’s a great side we’re facing but we certainly don’t shy away from the challenge," Kelly said. 

"Monaro football is strong, and we don’t ever feel that any other side is superior to us.

"We match up with anyone".

Image by Sue Graham

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.