Mustangs break the Magpies? hoodoo hold

By Tony White

MURWILLUMBAH broke a recent hoodoo against Lower Clarence scoring a hard fought 46-40 win over the Magpies at Maclean Showground yesterday.

In a see-sawing match with the lead changing on several occasions, Murwillumbah came from 40-34 down in the 60th minute to run out winners and avenge its past two losses to Lower.

"I don't know what to say we had lapses again and dropped off," Magpies captain-coach Jason Wilkinson said. "I'm still proud of the boys.

"We dug ourselves out of a big hole and came back to be in a position to win.

"No-one likes getting beaten, but there were plenty of positives to come out of the game."

Bad news came early for Lower when star centre Ken Mercy was helped from the field suffering a calf and archilies injury after just one minute.

Callum Lenard, who played a full game in Under-18s, came on for Mercy and played the full game.

The Magpies started brightly, lock Aaron Murray scoring under the posts after a Nathan Kelly charge. The Mustangs were back level pegging in the eighth minute with lock Andrew Pollard, one of his team's best, scoring and five-eighth Gary Dowling converting the first of seven goals.

After tries to Murwillumbah's Ben White and Lower's Damien Randall, following a scintillating backline move, it was 12-all in the 20th minute.

By half time however, Murwillumbah had skipped awy to a 30-18 lead and a try to centre Nick Forrester early in the second stanza saw the Mustangs lead 34-19 But the Magpies didn't lie down. Tries to Ben McDonald, Wilkinson and half Dave Purcell hauled the Magpies back to 34-all by the 58th minute.

A brilliant try to Randall had Lower leading 40-34 then Murwillumbah struck back through Ryan White try and Dowling penalty to level at 40-all in the 70th minute.

Brilliant Mustangs representative player Matt Slattery then broke the dead lock to make it 46-40.

FIRST GRADE: MURWILLUMBAH 46 (Matt Brown, Ryan White, Nick Forrester, Ben White, Sam Panting, Steve Kirkham, Matt Slattery, Andrew Pollard tries; Gary Dowling 7 goals) b LOWER CLARENCE 40 (Damien Randall 2, Ben McDonald, Jason Wilkinson, Dave Purcell, Barry Ah-See tries, Jason Wilkinson 6 goals. Half-time: 30-18 Murwillumbah. Referee: Dion Aldridge. Penalties: Lower Clarence 8, Murwillumbah 4.

RESERVE GRADE: MURWILLUMBAH 40 (Peter Weaver 2, Chris Patison 2, Kurt Thompson, Clint O'Keefe, Robert Stranger tries; Peter Weaver 6 goals) b LOWER CLARENCE 30 (Lenny Anderson 2, Mark Laurie, Dane Walker, Jerry Byers tries; Lenny Anderson 5 goals).

UNDER-18s: LOWER CLARENCE 16 (Callum Lenard, John Scott, Tom Martin tries; Jackson Philp 2 goals) d MURWILLUMBAH (Simon Booth, Jared French tries; Isaac Kneipp goal).

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