SAM Key was glad he didn’t have to head back to France before Sunday’s Group 19 grand final and the rest of Glen Innes was pretty happy about it too.
The Magpies’ five-eighth was a clear choice for man of the match in the decider after scoring 28 points and creating plenty of other tries in a 60-22 thrashing of Guyra.
“All week we were confident,” Key said.
“We knew that if we didn’t change too much about what we’ve been doing we’d win and win convincingly.
“No disrespect to Guyra – they’re tough, physical men.
“But that can actually be a disadvantage against a side like ours that can shift the ball.”
And shift it they did.
The Maggies had a lot of success on the edges, especially earlier in the game when the Spuds’ big men were hunting as a pack.
“It’s a strategy for us and it worked out just right,” Key said.
“We’ve tried to move their big men around all year, especially when we’re lucky enough to have a team that can shift the ball.
“If you’ve got the players that can do it you use it.”
But it was in the engine room that it all started.
The big five of Mone Loketi, Jarred Willis, Brett Watts, Jeff Moate and Adam Shaw did their job handling the Guyra big men and even started to punch big holes in the line as the game progressed.
That helped the likes of Key and hooker Jamie Watts in the attacking zone.
“It was always going to be tough in the first 20 minutes,” Key said.
“You just had to take your medicine.
“But the boys stood up really well and it does start in the front row.
“But Jamie Watts and Jeff Moate played very well too.”
Key said he has to be back in France in time to play for his club Limoux in its first game of the season on September 22 but had a “couple of days of partying” to do before then.