Warilla claimed the first championship of the Zone 16 season with World Cup champion Jeremy Henry and partners at their best in Sunday’s Fours final.
After three wins to reach the quarter-finals, Henry and partners Aaron Teys, Matt McIntyre and Jamie Mitchell won three more matches last weekend to take the Fours championship.
Henry proved too strong in the final for Towradgi Park’s Wes Falconer (skip), Brian Harriott, Brian Purdie and Jamie Johansen, winning 26-7.
‘‘The final was our best game and the whole team played well,’’ Henry said.
‘‘We scratched about through a few games but got through and just hit our straps in the final.’’
Henry beat Shane Garvey’s Wiseman Park’s team 20-18 in an excellent semi-final, with the Warilla side beating Dapto Citizens’ Ben Ford 23-16 in their quarter-final.
Falconer qualified for the final with a 21-15 semi-final win over Paul Woods’s Oak Flats’ team.
Last year, a Bulli team won the Zone 16 Fours and went on to make the final at the state titles in Maitland last October.
The Fours championship was hosted by Warilla at the start of a big 50th anniversary year for the powerhouse club.
The year could not have started better for Warilla, who were headquarters for the South Pacific Carnival in January, with rising star Aaron Teys winning the singles title.
NSW under 25s representative Teys and his new Warilla clubmate Matt McIntyre also won the pairs title.
The Zone pennants championships begins on Saturday week, with Warilla favourites to defend their Grade 1 crown.
Plenty of clubs look to have improved their squads, including Warilla who have signed Jared Hamilton (ex-Bulli) and Matt McIntyre (ex-Oak Flats) for this season.
Warilla have also recruited Irish under 25 internationals Simon Colvin and Robert Allen, who arrive tomorrow and straight off the plane will play in a trial against Windang tomorrow night.
Henry said the Irish pair will likely start the season in Grade 3 pennants, but a decision on the grading of all players will be made after tomorrow’s trials.
It is a big week for Henry and Warilla clubmate Leif Selby, who are heading to Melbourne on Saturday to play in the Australian Open, which begins on Sunday.