GLEN Innes Magpies posted 11 tries in their 60-10 defeat of Moree Boars at Moree’s Boughton Oval on Sunday.
It enabled the Magpies to finish second to Moree Boomerangs on the Group 19 first grade premiership and “earn” another trip back to Moree this Sunday for the Group 19 major semi-final against the Boomerangs.
It’s a big weekend for the Magpies as they also have their Ladies League Tag and Under 18 sides in major semis on Sunday and their second grade side in a minor semifinal at Inverell on Saturday.
They are the only Group 19 club to have all four sides represented in this weekend’s semifinal playoffs.
On Sunday the Magpies needed to win against the Moree Boars to leapfrog Inverell Hawks back into second.
They were spearheaded by “Freight Train” centre Craig Browne who scored five of the 11 Magpie tries, including the first three by the visitors in the space of just nine minutes.
Moree Boar Matty Marshall had opened the scoring in the 10th minute when the home side made good use of an early 5-1 penalty count and dominated field position. No sooner had they scored than the weight of possession swung to Glen Innes and big Browne cut loose.
Browne’s first try levelled the scores at 4-all in the 15th minute but by the half hour, hooker Jamie Watts had crossed for his second and Glen’s fifth try in a 15 minute blitz that had taken the Magpies to a 26-4 lead.
Marshall grabbed his second four pointer just before the break but the home side trailed 26-10 and couldn’t match the Magpies in the second 40.
In the 48th minute, replacement lock Matt Crowhurst cleverly stole the ball in a one-on-one strip and strode away for a try to begin a second half run. Further tries went to Jayden Ehsman, Chris Pedlow, Sam Key (to go with eight conversions) while Browne collected two more.
Magpies coach Sam Key was content with the victory.
“We came with a job to do (get the win) to cement second place on the ladder and we got it done,” he said.
“I just hope we can carry some of the energy from today into next week’s (major semifinal) clash with the Boomies. It’s a big task, taking them on at home, but we have a certain confidence in ourselves.
“Today I was pleased that we got to our kicks. It was a big improvement on recent games. It’s much easier to play at their end of the field.
“The ruck defence of ‘Ducky’ (Jamie Watts) was outstanding. It may have gone un-noticed by many in the crowd but I really appreciated it and, obviously, Brownie was great with five tries. He was a real freight train today.”
The Magpies are almost certain to be without half Nick Say for the remainder of the season. He is due to see a specialist about his knee injury this week, but there seems little chance of him being back for the play-offs. But apart from Say’s injury Glen should be at full strength for Sunday’s clash with Moree Boomerangs.
Inverell Hawks will play Armidale Rams in Saturday’s minor semifinal at Varley Oval, Inverell.