ARMIDALE Rams were sweating on Moree Boars beating Glen Innes Magpies by at least 14 points in their final-round Group 19 game at Boughton Oval, Moree yesterday and earn an unlikely minor semi- final at Armidale Rugby League Park.
Inverell Hawks were sweating on the Boars just winning to enable them to finish second and have a double chance in the G19 race.
In the end, Glen Innes Magpies gave neither side a semi- final lift when they overcame some stiff early resistance from the Moree Boars to win 60-10.
Big centre Craig Browne was a star for the Magpies, bagging five tries, including the first three for his side while hooker Jamie Watts also crossed twice.
Teenager Jayden Ehsman also bagged two tries and Moree’s Matt Marshall crossed for his side’s lone pair of tries.
Magpie captain-coach Sam Key was a relieved man after the match.
He said the side had a job to do and completed that mission that enables Glen Innes to finish second and play Moree Boomerangs in a major semi -final at Moree next Sunday.
“It had to be done,” Key said.
“We finally all came together and played the footy we wanted to play. Needed to play.”
The skipper said one of the problems his side had faced this season was its inability “to get to our kick” at the end of sets of six.
“We did that a lot better today but there is still room for improvement,” Key said.
He praised Browne for his quintet of tries and also said Watts’s defence in tight was enormous.
“It might have gone un-noticed by a lot of people but not by me,” Key said.
The captain hopes the win is the corner the Magpies needed to turn as they face a major semi against the premiers.
“We were relentless and forced the mistake,” he said.
“We need to take that energy, turn it around and beat the Rangs.”
Armidale Rams had set off the weekend with a 66-10 win over Uralla Tigers at Armidale Rugby League Park on Saturday.
“They called it off 20 minutes early because of the bad light too,” Rams club president Terry Carson said.
“It would have been nice to score a few more points but that’s the way it goes.
“It was getting too dark.”
Cameron Mundy and Anthony Strong both scored three tries apiece while centre Mitch Cooper crossed for two as well as kicking a goal.
Fred Waters converted seven and also scored a try where Carson thought the whole squad played well.
“Everything is coming together well,” he said of a side which was probably best served by backrower Gary Quinlan, big Fijian Josh Koroibulu and captain-coach Clarrie Moran, whose kicking game was on song.
Inverell Hawks will play Armidale Rams at Varley Oval, Inverell in next Saturday’s minor semi.