Magpies reggies pull out big game for Zane
THE Lower Clarence Magpies reserve grade rugby league team had the edge on its Ballina rivals when they met to play for the inaugural Zane Purcell Shield at Maclean.
Captain coach Mikee Randall said the presence of Zane in spirit with his team meant the Magpies had 14 players on the field as they staged a thrilling second half comeback to secure the silverware 40-38
"He was there with us for sure," Randall said. "He's been with us all the time since it happened."
Zane Purcell collapsed and died during a match in Ballina on May 10.
To commemorate Zane the two clubs have created the Zane Purcell Shield to be contested by their reserve grade sides.
Video from Zane Purcell's funeral
"It's one of the best days of the year," Randall said. "We haven't had the best of seasons, so this win makes me feel really proud of the boys and the way they played.
"That was pretty much our grand final for the season."
Things were not looking good for the hosts when Ballina led 3-16 at half time.
"Our preparation has not been the best. We slackened off before half time and they were running right over the top of us."
He said something changed in the team after they came out for the second half.
"The mindset was different, we decided we wanted it more than they did," Randall said.
He said it was hard to pick a turning point when the Magpies climbed back into the match.
"It was like the boys just decided this could not keep happening and started to really put in together," he said.
Randall said this spirit had the potential to be a rallying point for the club, which stumbled disastrously through the season.
"After the game a few of the younger players were talking about how good it felt to win a game like that," he said.
"They're talking about jumping on board next season.
"Something good could still come out of all this."
The Under-18s were encouraged by a 20-all draw with the second placed Seagulls. However, the Magpies went down 56-nil in first grade.