Giants spoil the party
By Tim Howard
A LACK of fitness leading to a lot of dropped ball ruined the party for the Lower Clarence Magpies in their first home game of the season at the Maclean Showground yesterday.
The Magpies held a first-half lead and looked to have the Mullumbimby Giants rattled up 12-10.
A superb cutout ball from half and captain-coach Jason Wilkinson led to Lower's first try about five minutes into the game.
The ball travelled around 30 metres and hit flying winger Ben McDonald on the chest for him to race 25 metres to score.
Wilkinson kicked a difficult conversion 10m in from touch.
Mullum hit back and raced to a 10-6 lead before a brilliant team try, superbly finished by centre Ken Mercy snatched back the lead.
However, that was the end of the scoring for the Magpies, who were severely hampered by the pre-game loss of representative prop Daine Laurie and the absence of Tom Freebody in the second half.
Magpies president Garry Anderson said the team's lack of match fitness told later in the game.
"We hadn't had a game since round two and we were a bit rusty and ran out of fitness," he said.
"But I was pleased with the way the team played.
"We rate Mullumbimby one of the top sides and to hold them to a half-time lead with our preparation, was a great effort."
Anderson said the match was not a great spectacle with a lot of dropped ball and a high penalty count making it a stop-start affair.
"It was a pretty physical game," he said.
"After the game the players were talking about how tough it was out there."
FIRST GRADE: Mullumbimby 28 d Lower Clarence 12.
Reserve grade: Mullumbimby 32 d Lower Clarence 16.
Under-18s: Lower Clarence 28 d Mullumbimby 10.
(No detailed scores available).