GLEN Innes Magpies were too hot for the visiting Uralla Tigers on Saturday, running out comfortable 40-10 victors in their Group 19 clash at Kerry Mead Park, Glen Innes.
But in reality, little was even lukewarm on a bitterly cold day when the mercury failed to pass six degrees and a very strong westerly belted across Mead Park with all the hospitality of an Arctic gale.
Despite the conditions and a couple of occasions where neither side could hold the ball for more than two or three tackles, the game had plenty to interest spectators.
Comments from most fans post-match centred on the outstanding defensive work of Glen’s pack and captain-coach Sam Key agreed.
“Our defence was very solid and we only gave up two tries against a side that never stopped trying,” he said.
Key is a fan of his pack of forwards and, again, they had a huge bearing on the outcome.
Power prop Jeff Moate opened the scoring in the fifteenth minute when he struggled away from four defenders who looked to have him wrapped up ten metres out.
Ten minutes later he was in again after Nick Ehsman scored a strong try on the back of a big run from young centre Craig Browne.
That gave the Magpies an 18-point advantage which extended to 22 just after the half hour when Key made a brilliant stepping run.
A quick play the ball gave halfback Nick Say the opportunity to dart to the short side where centre Jock Waters was too strong from ten metres.
Glen almost scored from the second half re-start when Uralla allowed the kick to bounce and Browne was stopped just short of the line.
Soon after, talented young Uralla centre Jordan Press stood up the defence to score a great try.
Glen’s defensive effort seemed to gain intensity and they kept Uralla pinned in their own quarter for an extended period before Browne raced straight through from a 30-metre scrum to score. He added another four pointer with 12 minutes to go.
Before Browne’s second try, Uralla second-rower Dwayne Daley scored a nice try and, with the clock winding down, hooker Jamie Watts backed up second-rower Adam McPhillips to score the final try of the game.
Moate, Browne, Ehsman and Crowhurst were amongst Glen’s best while Press, halfback Lewis Ahoy and the hardworking pack went well for Uralla.
In other Group 19 games, Armidale Rams upset Moree Boomerangs in Armidale on Saturday (28-26) and Moree Boars beat Goondiwindi Boars (26-24) on Sunday. Inverell Hawks also had a good win, beating Tingha Tigers 30-20 on Saturday.