Glen Innes on alert for visit of 'unknown' Tigers

GLEN Innes Magpies coach  Sam Key isn’t sure what to expect from today’s home clash with Uralla Tigers.

Glen Innes fullback Ben Lonergan has been in good returning form for the Magpies and will be a key player against the Uralla Tigers today. Photo: John Hamilton

Glen Innes fullback Ben Lonergan has been in good returning form for the Magpies and will be a key player against the Uralla Tigers today. Photo: John Hamilton

“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” he said of the Group 19 clash at Kerry Mead Park, Glen Innes.

“It’s like all the new teams this season, they’re unknown quantities.

“We played them in the round robin at Moree before the season started but it’s hard to know how much we can take out of that. 

“Most of the teams weren’t too serious, weren’t giving too much away.”

So the Magpies, with two wins from two starts against Moree Boars and Ashford, have been preparing as they would for any match.

“Last week against Ashford (where Glen won 40-22) showed that if you don’t turn up ready to play, against anybody, you will be in trouble,” Key said.

 “You have to turn up ready to play.”

After Uralla’s impressive late victory last weekend, Key will not be underestimating his opposition.

“We need to be more clinical,” he explained.

 “I want to see us scoring more structured tries rather than relying on the brilliance of certain individuals.

“We should be putting sides away better than we are. Hopefully that will come when we start playing football every week.”

Versatile Matt Crowhurst returns to the Magpies team after missing last week with a rib injury, although Key was playing his cards close to the chest and didn’t reveal just where the utility player will slot into the combination.

Key has been impressed with the carries being provided by big prop Jeff Moate so far this season.

“We’ve probably won both our games on the back of Jeff’s ferocious carries and (second- rower) Sam Schiffman has been doing plenty of work that often goes unnoticed,” he said.

“And ‘Ducky’ (hooker Jamie Watts) has been as solid as ever. Ben Lonergan has been good at fullback and made plenty of ground bringing the ball back last week.”

The return of strong centre Jock Waters after a three- month trip to Europe has also added plenty of strength to the backline.

The Magpies will need to be vigilant against the Tigers’ inside backs who sparked their come-from-behind victory last weekend.

 In other Group 19 games today, reigning premiers Moree Boomerangs host Armidale Rams and Inverell has a big local derby against Tingha at Varley Oval, Inverell.

Tomorrow, Moree Boars are at home to Goondwindi in the Boaring Battle.

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