ARMIDALE Rams and Glen Innes Magpies staged a battle royale at Armidale Rugby League Park on Sunday.
The home team triumphed 31-30 thanks to a field goal from the boot of Rams captain-coach Clarrie Moran.
Magpie coach Sam Key had a chance to level scores at 31-all with a minute remaining but his field goal attempt hit the upright and bounced away.
Smart centre Mitch Cooper opened the scoring early and evergreen Fred Waters landed a good goal.
Waters was to play a crucial role in Armidale’s victory, with two outstanding tries and five goals from as many attempts.
It took Glen 20 minutes to open their account when impressive youngster, Jock Waters, moved from centre to second row to help cover Glen’s missing regular starters, scored off a nice dummy half break by hooker Jamie Watts.
But Armidale’s Waters speared down the left flank to score from a scrum when Glen lost the ball on the second tackle after the re-start.
Waters’ magnificent conversion into the wind from touch was to prove vital.
Armidale went to an 18-6 lead on the half hour when big Josh Koroibulu charged over near the posts.
The Rams appeared to be well in control but conceded several penalties for play-the-ball infringements and Watts forced his way over from dummy half twice in four minutes after fine runs by Jock Waters and Sam Schiffman.
Waters took Glen to the lead after seven minutes of the second half when he scored adjacent to the posts off a pass from half Nick Say before Say kicked across field for centre Euan McGrady to take the ball on his chest and score unopposed.
At 30-18, Glen should have wrapped the game up but, with eleven minutes left, excellent hooker Jamie Smith, on the back-up from rep duties the previous day, scored from dummy half for Armidale and the gap was just six points.
With seven minutes remaining, Fred Waters turned on the turbo charger and speared through a gap on halfway and raced away to score the levelling try.
Moran’s successful field goal came with five minutes remaining.