GLEN INNES 60
THE GLEN Innes Magpies flexed their muscles in a one-sided Group 19 grand final on their home track yesterday to lift the premiership shield for the second time in three years.
It proved to be the biggest winning score in the history of Group 19 grand finals as the Magpies ran riot in the second half to beat minor premiers and neighbours Guyra 60-22 and make up for last year’s disappointment.
“It’s a better feeling than last year,” Glen coach Dale Keegan said.
“It was an empty feeling last year.
“This year it’s more relief or a relaxed feeling.”
There was nothing relaxing about the opening exchanges between the two forward packs but the Magpies soaked up some punishment and then hit back on the scoreboard.
Matt Crowhurst scored the first of 10 Glen tries when Mone Loketi offloaded and to the centre and he managed to get the ball down in
Sam Key then added a penalty goal and winger Adam Upton scored his first from a left-side shift after Guyra was forced to drop-out from under its sticks.
There was a mistake from the next set and Guyra was able to his back through winger Blake Handebo, but it was only a momentary respite as the Spuds also spilled the ball from the following set.
Key sliced through untouched for his first try of the day and it was 20-6.
Handebo finished Guyra’s second after Corey Torrens threw a long ball to the unmarked flankman following three repeat sets, but again the Magpies fired straight back with Upton grabbing his second from an almost identical left-side movement.
That gave Glen a 24-12 lead at the break and any score soon after halftime would cripple Guyra’s hopes.
It came only a minute in when an error gave Jeff Moate an easy opportunity and he took it from close range.
That started the rot and Adam Shaw got in on the act with his first on the right-hand edge.
Key slid through the defence again for his second soon after and hooker Jamie Watts pounced on a quick play the ball and scooted his way to his first of the day.
That made it 48-12 and it wasn’t over.
Shaw’s second came on the left this time and followed up another strong run from Loketi and Watts’ second was started by a break by Moate.
The Spuds scored two consolation tries in the last 10 minutes.
Josh Koroibulu barged over and Shaun Cox made a break before giving it to Torrens, who kicked for himself to score.
But it was Glen’s day from start to finish.
“We were pretty positive all week,” Keegan said.
“We had a good preparation.
“From the first carry we were pretty much on top.
“We lost some ball and they scored, but we had a good talk at halftime about not making any errors.
“The tide turned and they made the mistake from the kickoff and we capitalised.”
Key was the standout and received the man of the match award, while he and fellow skipper Jay Hampson lifted the trophy.