THREE visiting teams travelled to upset the home sides, leaving Uralla Tigers as the only home side to prevail when a fifth round of Group 19 matches was played on Saturday.
Uralla won 36-22 after leading 30-4 in their match against Ashford Roosters at Woodville Oval, Uralla on Saturday.
Further north, competition leading Glen Innes travelled to Goondiwindi for the first time in around a half a century and came away with a 34-22 win.
Prop Jeff Moate scored three tries and kicked a goal for the Magpies.
Reigning premiers Moree Boomerangs trekked to Tingha and overwhelmed the Tigers 58-14 while Inverell Hawks overturned a 16-6 half -time deficit to beat Moree Boars 26-16 at Boughton Oval, Moree.
Inverell coach Peter Stevens was a happy man.
“All four grades won up there,” Stevens said of a Hawks’ clean swoop.
“We haven’t done that on an away trip for a long while.
“We were down 16-6 at halftime – only completed two of our 14 sets.
“Our defence won us the game today.
“We didn’t send that much at them and turned over a lot of ball in the first half.
“But we controlled the ball better in the second half.”
Hawks prop Brendan Critchlow was a standout.
“He had his best game for us by far and led by example up front,” Stevens said.
“He was enormous.
“Our two halves, Luke Thom and Alex McCosker, were good too and we had our four Kiwi boys on deck today.
“Two played reggies and two, Ramos Crichton and EJ Dominic, in first grade.
“Ramos is going to be very handy for us out in the
Tingha Tigers had more than half a first grade side out when they welcomed the Boomerangs on Saturday.
“We were so short – had seven players out – that Guy Mepham played,” Tingha stalwart Ivan Coleman said.
“He dislocated his kneecap a few weeks ago but strapped it all up and played.
“And he was outstanding.
“But the Boomies were too good for us today.
“They were magic – threw flick passes from over the sideline to find players.”
Jamie Sampson was outstanding for the Boomies, scoring two tries and marshalling the Boomerang attack.
Willy Fernando, Jason Saunders, Dillon Walford and Lloyd Munro also scored two tries apiece while Mundarra Weldon, one of their best in the pack, also crossed.
Sam Swain was Tingha’s best, starting in the centres and then moving to fullback.
“It’s very disappointing he’s not in the Group 19 side,” Coleman said.
Jordan Press is in the Group 19 Under 18s and could have easily sat out Saturday’s Ashford match after straining his calf the previous week.
However he passed the pre-game warm-up and then came out and scored Uralla’s first two tries with his great pace.
“Jordan hadn’t trained all week,” his father and Uralla coach Carl Press said.
“But he got through the warm-up and then scored the first two tries for us.
“We got a great start.”
Fijian import Saimoni Biaukula also showed he will be a great acquisition.
The former Fijian World Cup squad member was enormous for the Tigers in the middle, taking multiple hit-ups in sets of six.