SWOOP IN': Merrick Rainbow-Skinner bagged a try in the Lower Clarence Magpies six point loss to the Ballina Seagulls.
SWOOP IN': Merrick Rainbow-Skinner bagged a try in the Lower Clarence Magpies six point loss to the Ballina Seagulls. Belinda Martyn

Tight contest a taste of finals footy for Magpies

NRRRL: Lower Clarence Magpies got a preview of what to expect in finals football this weekend in a tough and physical 16-10 loss against the Ballina Seagulls.

Magpies coach Darrin Heron said despite the loss, the match was a good hit-out for his side as they prepare for the final two rounds of the competition.

"The top five is set, it's just a matter of how they all finish, but we'll be playing finals footy," he said.

"It was a hard game, the biggest margin was at half time where we it was 12-4 and it was a real tit-for-tat match."

Heron said he was looking to make sure his side stuck to their game plan and maintain their discipline leading into the finals series.

"The boys tend to go away from it every couple of weeks and get a bit carried away as young men tend to do, but it's a very easy game plan," he said.

"The only thing I can do is when we get to training on Tuesday and Thursday with our ball sessions is just keep going through it."

Self-belief is something that Heron hopes his young side will use to back themselves as they seek to try and push their claim for an U18s grand final berth.

"All of these boys have done the hard yards, so now they've got to believe in themselves," he said.

"Our boys just need to back themselves, they never give up and they just need to keep backing up and believing in themselves."

Next week sees the Magpies take on Northern United at their adopted home of Cabarita.

United have had a season to forget, and after 16 rounds are still without a win.

Heron said his side will have to stay focused, and not write off their opponents.

"Don't you worry, after getting beat this weekend they'll be fired up," he said.

"They don't want to get beaten two weeks in a row, so they won't be taking any chances."



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