THE ARMIDALE Blues won all three grades on Saturday for the first time in two years as they hosted St Alberts.
Following on from colts and reserve grade victories, the firsts found themselves behind early in the game.
Albies came out playing some very positive rugby and playing their typically expansive game.
At halftime, Albies went into the sheds ahead 18-12.
Blues coach Alan Jones said that, while Albies were playing well, the Blues were handing them the game.
A firm halftime chat had the Blues playing with some more structure and they started to claw their way back into the game.
“We went back to our basic plan and held our structure together,” Jones said.
“We kept the ball in hand, played tight, and starved them of possession.”
The plan worked and, with a bit of luck and some good scramble at times, they held the students out.
The Blues began to gather momentum and roll the ball downfield with the likes of Alex Smith and Mike TeMoana making ground.
“When we got down there we spread it and got in behind their line,” Jones said.
A try on the back of some good forwards work saw the Blues take the lead by one point 19-18.
With just eight minutes to go, outside centre Dan Ahsee found the line, before being instrumental in the following try as well that sealed the win 36-18.
Smith took players’ player for a strong display at the back of the scrum.
Ahsee and TeMoana also got the nod from the coach.
The win cements the Blues’ spot in second behind Robb, while Albies sit three points behind in third after Robb College swamped Guyra 32-25 in the other NERU first grade match on Saturday.
Guyra had led 25-13 at half- time but Robb finished strongly on the back of a glut of penalties.
Guyra club president Greg Hill said he would be submitting an official complaint regarding the officiating.
St Alberts will host Guyra next Saturday while the Armidale derby is on at Moran Oval as the Barbarians clash with the Blues.