United hand Cudgen a win
NORTHERN United threw away a 26-point lead to be stung 34-30 by Cudgen’s Hornets in NRRRL action at Crozier Field, Lismore, yesterday.
United led throughout but handed Cudgen a chance to win the game in the final minutes.
And take the chance they did, with Jackson Hardy sliding over in the corner as the siren sounded to erase memories of a horror game for the winger.
Hardy dropped balls and blew tries in an unhappy first half but had the last laugh with the match-winner.
Dirawongs coach Chris Binge was ropeable that his men had let this one get away – their first home loss in 2010 – and didn’t hold back in his assessment.
“Unbelievable, disgraceful,” Binge said.
“That would have to be the worst performance I have ever been involved in coaching.”
But for 20 minutes, his men were unstoppable.
The Dirawongs flew out of the gates to score five tries in the opening 20 minutes – David Briggs Jnr had a treble and Roy Bell a double with barely a hand laid on them.
But they became spectators as the Craig Field-inspired Hornets ran in six tries to one over the remaining hour.
Field began the game kick happy. Every time his side had an opportunity, he looked for an attacking kick and it wasn’t until he gave the game plan a rethink that the visitors struck.
First, he dummied and ran to notch their first four-pointer; then he started throwing short balls and by the end of the match he had back-rowers lining up to run off him.
Interchange forward Paul Slatyer was the major beneficiary, logging a double, while Aaron Aitken and Robert Kelly were relentless as they worked United over on the fringes.
The shining light for the home side was the form of Briggs.
Twice he scored from a set play at the scrum. Binge now knows for sure that if he can get his light-footed speedster one-on-one with any man, he will be tough to reel in.
His step is lightning and he showed his electric speed in an 80-metre intercept effort.
Cudgen 34 (Slatyer 2, Field, Bryant, Moase, Hardy tries; Field 5 goals) d Northern United 30 (Briggs 3, Bell 2, James Roberts tries; Bell 3 goals).