Magpies blitz the Giants
THE Lower Clarence Magpies have staged a second half blitz to break away from Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League rivals, the Mullumbimby Giants, and score a 26-12 victory at a wet and windy Yamba Sports Complex yesterday.
A flip of the coin was the only deciding factor between the two sides going into half-time, but the Magpies returned to the field the more committed of the sides and deservedly ran out 14 point victors.
However, the gloss of a five tries to three margin was some what tarnished by the missed opportunities, or the defensive mistake, depending on which way the ball bounced.
“Having the week off last week we lost a little bit of momentum,” Magpies captain/coach Dallas Waters said.
“Hopefully we can build some confidence, be a little bit more arrogant, and try to put teams away when we're in the position to do so.”
In a quagmire of a first half, both teams failed capitalise on their chances as the football travelled from end to end.
The Giants finally broke the deadlock when Joel Christie crossed out wide but the strong northerly wind pushed the conversion out wide and the Magpies only trailed by four.
The home team finally started to find it's feet, and find the gaps, but Mullumbimby countered with quick runs out of dummy half and the game once again settled into a drawn out arm wrestle.
“We've seen them make plenty of yards and we wanted it to stay in the middle,” Giants coach Wayne Cullen said.
With half time approaching, Walters started a brilliant team move which put Hughie Stanley in the clear with only the fullback to beat.
Electing not to pass, Stanley took on the Giants no.1, only to lose his footing and on the second attempt, plant the ball down out wide.
There was still time before the break for one last Magpies raid but, perhaps justly, the teams hunkered down for their half-time talks locked at a try apiece.
Whatever words of wisdom Walters imparted on his troops, the Magpies started the second stanza like men on a mission.
With the wind behind them and experienced duo, William Lockwood and Don Walker, taking control, the Magpies try-machine kicked into gear.
First was Lockwood's deft kick and chase solo effort, followed by George Jarrett's run to the line off a Walker bust.
However, a Magpies mistake was just around the corner, and a high ball clanger led to the Giants impressive second rower, Joe Robinson, barging over.
Soon after, it was a two point ball game, with Simon Baines seizing on some slack Magpies defence to attack what was looking to be a grubber kick going long.
Not to be outdone, Lockwood minutes later, took on the Giants defence and rolled in the perfect grubber for a barn-storming Walker to pounce on.
The game was made safe when the Giants, on the attack, started to slide the ball out wide but failed to notice Stanley who, like a thief in the night, stole in to nab the last wayward pass.
With 80 metres to sprint, Stanley only needed the first 30 metres before he was in the clear and under the sticks.
The Giants laid siege to the Magpies line, but the defence remained resolute and the squad claimed a giant-killing 26-12 victory.
LOWER CLARENCE MAGPIES 26 (Grant Brown, Hughie Stanley 2, William Lockwood, George Jarrett tries; Grant Brown 3 conversions) DEF MULLUMBIMBY GIANTS 12 (Joel Christie, Simon Baines, Joe Robinson tries)
MULLUMBIMBY GIANTS 24 (J Chester 2, B Browning, R Walk, P Parker tries; L Woods, A Clothier conversion) DEF LOWER CLARENCE MAGPIES 16 (Jack Purcell, Brian Quinlon, Locki Major tries; Damien Randall 2 conversions)
LOWER CLARENCE MAGPIES 24 (Josh Gorman 2, Carl Laurie, Rob Williams, Brett O'Conner tries; Rob Williams 2 conversions) DEF MULLUMBIMBY GIANTS 4 (Corey Cuttle tries)