Magpies show plenty in trial
By ADRIAN MILLER
THE Lower Clarence Magpies began season 2006 on Saturday night with a trial against Tugun, and while they went down 16-0, club president Garry Anderson said all is looking rosy for the year ahead.
Close to 700 people filed into the Maclean Showground to watch the Magpies Under-18, reserves and first grade squads battle it out in their first hit-out for the year.
The seniors played two halves of 20 minutes each, with both club's reserve grade sides taking to the field first.
Lower Clarence began the stronger of the two, and with new recruit Barry Ah-See leading the way from five-eighth, took an early lead they never relinquished.
Anderson said the game was an entertaining start to the year.
"It was a fast flowing, very entertaining game," he said.
"The first 10 minutes was very quick and it was good to watch."
In the reserves Anderson said new recruit Ah-See was a standout, as was Brad Shannon, and Matt Anderson in his return was impressive.
After the first 40 minutes the team's introduced their first-grade players, with Lower's reserves winning 12-10.
Anderson said the first-grade game was a tough, bruising encounter with plenty of big hits.
"It was a tough encounter, with tough defence from both sides, but especially Dane Laurie and Lower Clarence newcomer Nathan Kelly," he said.
Anderson said the Magpies struggled to control the ball and turned over possession too often, and eventually Tugun ran away with the game to win 16-0.
Anderson said apart from Laurie and Kelly, Ken Mercy and Dave Purcell performed well for the Magpies.
In the Under-18s Lower played the South Grafton High School open team, who won 26-12.
Anderson said stand-out performers for the Magpies were Tommy Martin, Curtis Laurie and Jackson Philp.
Anderson said it was a good start to the year.
"It was a great crowd considering it was a Saturday night and the cricket is still going so all is looking good for the Magpies in 2006," he said.
The Magpies are due to play the South Grafton Rebels in a trial match on March 11 at Jabour Park, South Grafton.