Rams batter Magpies
YOU CAN'T help but feel for Nathan Pettit.
The Lower Clarence Magpies coach is at a loss to work out how his side can turn around their poor results, the latest of which was Saturday night's 68-12 flogging at the hands of Marist Brothers Rams.
Injuries and ill-discipline only compound Lower Clarence's problems, with Pettit bewildered at how his troops can dominate the opening exchanges and end up getting pumped by 50.
"To be in front for those first few minutes and get flogged," Pettit lamented.
"We're struggling across both grades. We've got five guys out there who shouldn't really be in first grade but we've got too many injuries.
"It doesn't make it easy."
It is not all doom and gloom for the Magpies, who consistently put together patches of play that could trouble the best sides in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
For the opening few minutes they were dominating Marist Brothers, and scored first through Kurtis Laurie who dived on a loose ball.
From there it was all downhill for the home side, save for Grant Brown's vision to score a try from a chip-and-chase close to the line, and Lower Clarence forcing repeat sets.
"I don't know how to fix it, it's everything," an emotional Pettit said at fulltime.
"This is the worst side we've faced so far and we got pumped.
"Every game is big to us and we need to perform."
Winger Josh Gorman, Brown and Laurie were three standouts for the home side, but Marist Brothers centre Callum Hughes and prop Darryl Butcher blew everyone away.
Hughes left Angourie Sports Complex with a 26-point haul, while Butcher smashed and bashed through the Magpies' defence.
Coach Adam Mayes was happy to take the points from what was a frustrating night on the sideline.
The first half itself took more than 50 minutes due to several stoppages for injuries, making the cool night at the footy last even longer for spectators.
"It was very stop-start," Mayes said of the first half.
"Darryl was outstanding up the front.
"Lower have a lot of young blokes there. They need one or two experienced guys to step in and help lift them."
Both teams will need to improve their discipline before next week's games with two players from each side spending time in the sin bin.
Lower Clarence's Andrew and Sam Kapeen spent time in the bin, as did Marist pair Leon King and Lennon Bartlett.
Magpies host Ballina at Maclean Showground on Saturday.
- Full results and tables in tomorrow's The Daily Examiner.