Barraba goes down swinging against Tamworth

ITS heart is one of Barraba’s defining traits and it came to the fore at Tamworth Rugby Park in Sunday’s Tier 2 minor semi-final.

Trailing 29-6 early in the second half, the Rams looked down and out.

But that famous Rams spirit kicked in in the second half and they fought back to a two-point deficit with 20 minutes to go.

They couldn’t in the end quite get there, with the Magpies clinging on to win 32-27.

Much to the Rams’ chagrin. 

It was there for them to win.

They had most of the play in the last 15 minutes but just couldn’t capitalise.

“Just a couple of silly turnovers or rushes of blood to the head,” coach Ben Crowley said. “We needed to be a bit more patient.” 

In hindsight though, the first half was what cost them.

“The first 20 minutes in particular,” Crowley said.

“We made a lot of stupid decisions and got stuck in our half.

“We gave them too much territory and too much possession.” 

The Magpies punished them for it.

Their opening try came from a mistake from the Rams, with five-eighth Bryce Daniels swooping on a pass that went to ground as the Rams tried to run it out of their 22, and offloading to centre Kieran McHugh.

The Magpies got on a roll from there and dominated the first half to go into the break up 24-6.

At half-time, the Rams injected some fresh blood and they really made a difference.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on the bench,” Crowley said.

He has no hesitation putting players on and not losing anything.

The forward replacements, especially, had an impact.

“We had a bit more go-forward,” Crowley said.

That got them on the front foot and gave the backs a bit more space to work in.

The backs have been a bit starved of the ball at times during the season but, in recent weeks, have seen a lot more of it.

It’s coincided with the Rams’ results picking up.

Evergreen replacement winger Dave Banovich started the Rams’ second-half surge.

Brad Stanton then well and truly got them back in it, scoring after some good continuity, and converting from the sideline to make it 29-20 with half an hour to go.

The difference then became two when prop Will Robinson crashed over.

It came after some good interplay between the backs, with outside centre Tom Mellor making a strong run and then linking up with fullback Luke Smith on the fold.

The Magpies managed to scramble back and shut them down but were short of numbers to the right.

Robinson was one of at least three players who could have scored.

He was one of their best.

The forwards generally were pretty good, with Robinson, Rob Carter, Adam Scanlon and Blake Etheridge leading the way.

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