THEY mightn’t have snared the points but Saturday’s second-half fightback against Narrabri might jolt Tamworth Magpies into believing they can compete with the top sides.
Co-coach Ross Duncan certainly hopes so.
“We’ve got the team to push most teams,” Duncan said.
It’s just a matter of having that belief. That’s starting to come.
After giving Scone a scare the previous week, the Magpies won the second half and put the second most points on the Blue Boars this season.
And while the Blue Boars never looked like losing, for some of the game the Magpies outplayed them.
Again though, they let their opposition get too much of a head start.
They coudn’t get a lot of traction into the game in the first half.
That was partly their own doing.
“We gave away a lot of silly soft penalties, especially in the forwards,” Duncan said.
“That just gave them territory and possession.
“When you’re playing the undefeated leaders of the competition you can’t do that.”
Or you’ll get stung, as they did.
“It took us out of the first half,” Duncan said.
“We were constantly going backwards.”
They also found it hard to defend the Blue Boars from the set pieces, especially the lineout.
“We weren’t reacting to what they were doing,” Duncan said.
“They had a different set-up that we hadn’t seen before and it took the boys a while to adapt.”
The second half was a different story. The Magpies had a lot more ball and were able to build phases and pressure.
The forwards led the revival.
“We actually scored two tries off the back of rolling mauls,” Duncan said.
It also got them a bit of territory and they made good metres with their pick and drive game.
Both sides were forced to play with 14 for a while in the second half, with the Magpies losing breakaway Harry Veitch.
Not long after, Blue Boars five-eighth Henri Knight was yellow-carded, and he finished the game in the bin.
Indiscretion aside, they were both strong for their respective sides.
Veitch picked up the two points for the Magpies behind skipper Rhys Duncan.
He really drove the forwards on and, in some passages, had multiple runs.
Lachie McIntosh also made some strong runs on the wing and was good in defence and shared the one with Nick Lyons, who has picked up points in both his two games in first grade.
In contrast to Duncan and Tony Mills, Blue Boars coaches Hunter Harley and Tom Cullen had little to dress their side down about.
It was a pretty smooth operation in the first half.
Not so the second but if there was a positive to come out, it was that the backs took a quantum leap in terms of their lines and tempo, Harley said.