THE Oxley Diggers had its most impressive trial yet on Saturday despite going down to the Armidale Rams according to president Mick Schmeidel.
The game played at the Armidale Rugby League ground ended with the Rams winning 42-28.
“It was a good hit out and they are a good side,” Schmeidel said.
“We made some silly errors and some soft tackles that led to them scoring a few tries.”
“But we are coming together well and are getting better with each game.”
The Rams 16-year-old boy wonder John Boy Quinlan scored two good tries in the first of three periods.
Former Armidale Blues converts Vincent Moran and Dan Ah-See also both scored a try.
At the end of the second period the score was 24-16, after Diggers hit back with some strong attack from inside the 20m.
Lincoln Dixon and Scott Berry were playing half and five eighth for the new side and impressed, setting up some good plays.
“They handled it really well and Lincoln was awesome at halfback,” Schmeidel said.
Will Gerard came on in the final period at halfback and directed the side around well.
Jamie Gerard also had a good game and Henry Slater came off the bench and played hard.
Captain coach Jamie Trindall was out after getting his knee cleaned up with some surgery a fortnight ago but will be right for the April 13 and 14 knockout.
“Our goal is to be impressive at the knockout,” Schmeidel said.
“I would like to think we will be competitive at the knockout and in the season.”
“I think with the team we have we can squeeze into the four.”
The Rams have also got a new captain coach in Clarrie Moran.
Club secretary Phil Williams said the coach played really well in the trial after returning from a year with Charlestown.
“We have picked up a few players and are looking forward to the season starting,” Williams said.
Goondiwindi has joined Group 19 this season, as have the Moree Boars taking it to eleven sides.
“It is great to see the sport is so strong but there will be a lot of travel and a lot of games,” Williams said.
“It really will be survival of the fittest with a season this long.”
Both the Rams and the Diggers are in discussions with other clubs to fit in one more trial before their respective Group 19 Gala Days and Wests Knockout.