Magpies Trent Cullen (back) Jackson Lucas (right) in action against Ballina at the Yamba Sports Complex.
Magpies Trent Cullen (back) Jackson Lucas (right) in action against Ballina at the Yamba Sports Complex. Debrah Novak

Mauled Magpies hungry for home

MAGPIES coach Ricky Binge can’t wait for a home game, or to be precise, a game at Maclean Showground.

The Lower Clarence side again played its home game against a well-drilled Ballina side yesterday at Yamba Oval, going down 56-12 in wet conditions.

“We’ve had a fairly tough three weeks,” a frustrated Binge said.

“We have either been on the road or had to play our home games at Yamba. I don’t want to upset anyone but Yamba is not the same as the Showground.

“Playing at the Showground lifts the team and at Yamba we lost a lot of the crowd because of the rain ... there was no adequate shelter.”

Going through a rebuilding stage is tough enough for any side but against a clinical side like Ballina, it is just that little bit harder.

Fielding a relatively young side, the Magpies struggled to keep up with the pace of a Seagulls outfit that relies on fast play-the-ball and mistake-free football.

Binge said he was pleased with his forwards but still had concerns with combinations in the backline.

“They (Ballina) are quick to play the ball and our guys found it hard to slow them down,” Binge said.

“They got us out wide and we also made far too many errors and gave them repeat sets. We have to learn that when we make an error to concentrate and go hard for the next set.”

For the second week in a row Magpies prop forward Ryan Binge picked up the players’ player award. According to Binge, Seagulls coach Brian Batesse was full of praise for the young Magpies pack.

“Brian actually said he thought our forwards went very well and took it right up to his forwards and probably we were the better pack on the day,” Binge said.

In a late change to the Magpies’ run-on side, centre Dan Randall moved closer to the action at five-eighth and his combination with halfback James King proved a success.

“Dan and James worked well together and young Joel Laurie, who backed up from reserve grade, had a strong game,” Binge said.

Next week Lower hit the road again against Tweed Coast followed by a home game against Casino which should hoist the Magpies back on-track.



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