Power too powerful for Pioneers

OXLEY Region has been rewarded with four players chosen for the Country Rugby League under 18 squad despite going down in the final of the CRL Championship.

Macksville forward Kristian Kelly has been named in the second row while Nambucca Heads' utility Alex Hull has claimed a reserve berth.

Pioneers' captain Matt Nean (Wests Lions) is the fullback with Andy Mack (Farrer College) retaining his place in the front row.

After leading 10-8 at the break, Pioneers knuckled down following the resumption to repel everything Central Hunter Power could throw their way.

With eight minutes remaining, coach Peter Barrett appeared close to claiming his third straight CRL title but a lapse in defence opened the door and two late tries to Power allowed them to claim the lead and capture the Tom Nelson Shield.

The Country under 18s head to Forster in July and will play the curtain-raiser to the seniors for the annual representative clash with Queensland Country.

Meanwhile, the immediate future of boom junior Alex Hull is under a cloud after he was one of five players dismissed by referee Chris Agland in a weekend Group 2 under 18 fixture between Port Macquarie and Nambucca Heads.

Team-mate Jordan Hollis and Sharks player Bruce Miles tendered an early guilty plea and each received a one week suspension.

But Hull and Port duo Vincent and Craig Smith were granted adjournments until next Monday night after advising they'd had insufficient time to view the match video meaning they'll now miss their weekend engagements.

In the case of Hull, the adjournment also makes him temporarily unavailable for schoolboy football at a time when Nambucca Heads High School are progressing through a variety of state-wide trophy competitions.

Sources have told the Coffs Coast Advocate that Hull is preparing to sign a playing contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

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