THE scoreline may have blown out and they did lose all three grades to Kyogle Turkeys but the signs are all positive for Lower Clarence Magpies.

Hosting a bumper day of football for the opening round of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season, the Magpies showed signs of improvement despite going down 52-28.

Lower Clarence stayed with their much-fancied rivals for most of the game before the Turkeys took full advantage of Magpies hooker Dan Nikas' sin-binning to run in 18 points in 10 minutes.

"We had a few good patches but we just need to find that consistency," Nikas said.

"It's been hard with a few injuries and other guys away for work but we'll get there."

Lock Rhys Appo, who captained the first-grade side for the first time, said he was happy with the performance but said ill discipline had let the Magpies down.

"The sin bin was just one play in the whole game," Appo said.

"We came out in the second half and were so ill disciplined we kept them in the game.

"There are a lot of positives to come out of the game though and hopefully a few more guys will get down to training."

It may sound odd considering the fulltime score but Appo said he was impressed with the Magpies' defence.

"I thought our defence was really good. We defended quite a few sets on our line," he said.

"It shows the boys making a big effort but we need to make sure we remain calm when things don't go our way."

A lot of the credit for the promising effort has been attributed to new coach Nathan Pettit, who led the team in his first official game.

Pettit, who moved to the club from south west Sydney, has been credited with instilling a new attitude at the club and bringing more structure on the field.

"Nathan has brought a lot more structure to what we've had," Appo said.

"Bringing the new face to the club has allowed the guys like Sheriff (Tony Marshall) and Ricky Binge a rest so they can look after the club.

"We've got a new outlook on the game and a few of the guys are finally realising their ability."

Andrew Kapeen scored the first try of the Magpies' season while second-rower Travis Gibson bagged a double.

Lower Clarence travel to Byron Bay next Sunday.



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