Tamworth resigned to hosting minor semi

AMONG the disappointment and frustration, Tamworth was taking some consolation from Saturday’s loss to Scone.

In all likelihood, the result ruled the Magpies out of finishing second.

Bar Barraba or Quirindi causing a boilover, they’ll finish third, which means they’ll host Barraba in the minor semi-final.

They’ll be hoping to be playing better  by then. 

“We were pretty ordinary last week,” Magpies co-coach Ross Duncan said.

“This week was maybe a bit of a follow-on from that.”

He had no doubt the incident with reserve grade prop Paul Barker (who suffered a heart attack while waiting for first grade to come on) did knock them about.

It took them a little while to get into the game.

“We sort of got going towards the back of the half and had all those opportunities,” Duncan said.

He counted at least four times they should have scored. 

Only one though went down on the scoresheet.

Mitch Wheaton and Pat Strong were both pushed into touch only metres from the line – in almost identical spots.

In between, they had the Brumbies’ defence stretched but Ben Roughley took the line on rather than making that extra pass.

It was head-shaking stuff  and Duncan and co-coach Tony Mills were doing a fair bit of that throughout the game.

In fairness, the Brumbies did scramble well in defence, but generally the attack didn’t quite click for the home side.

Passes were going behind the backs of the man. 

They were knocking on, turning over the ball in contact, or just pushing the pass – stalling any inroads they’d made.

“It was very disappointing,” Duncan said.

“I think we had the game in the first half.

“We needed to stick to it.

“But they came out more eager and put us under pressure.”

The Brumbies had the better of the second half and were able to find a few cracks in the Magpies’ defence.

“A few times they went wide and got around us on the edge,” Duncan said.

Their kicking game was also pretty poor.

They rarely would have found the metres they were looking for, and were charged down four of five times.

One of those led to the match-turning try that put the Brumbies ahead.

Wheaton, in the second row, was their best for his second successive game.

Roughley was kept busy at the back, especially cleaning up kicks and got the two points with hooker Sam Hunt and breakaway Harry Veitch sharing the one.

Hunt was making his first grade debut at hooker after playing a couple of games at prop and did a pretty fair job.

Veitch was, as usual, ever-present.

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