We'll reboot in week off, says Tamworth coach

TAMWORTH co-coach Ross Duncan said the week off would  be a blessing to address what went wrong on Sunday after the Magpies almost squandered a spot in the preliminary final.

“We’ve got a long list of things to work on,” Duncan said.

Things were looking rosy at half-time with the Magpies dominating the first half and holding a commanding 24-6 lead at the break.

But the wheels fell off in the second half.

“Credit to Barraba, they had a slow start but got back into the game by doing the simple stuff with high intensity,” Duncan said.

Despite scoring first in the second half, half-time was probably the worst thing that could have happened to them. 

“The half-time break really stopped our momentum,” he said.

“We couldn’t go up the gear Barraba had gotten into.” 

The Rams are one of those sides that once they get on a roll are very hard to stop.

“Once they got on a roll and got forward momentum it was hard to stop them getting over the advantage line,” Duncan said.

“A couple of things went their way and all of a sudden we were a side under pressure.”

Tamworth centre Kieran McHugh sizes up Barraba fullback Luke Smith during Sunday’s minor semi-final. Photo: Gareth Gardner 240814GGF07

Tamworth centre Kieran McHugh sizes up Barraba fullback Luke Smith during Sunday’s minor semi-final. Photo: Gareth Gardner 240814GGF07

“For a good 25-minute period there it didn’t seem like we attacked at all.” 

They were either knocking on, giving away penalties, or making simple mistakes like penalty kicks not going out and kick-offs not going the 10, and it seemed as soon as they’d clear from their half they were back in it.

“Thankfully we’d done enough work in the first half to get us into a position to have a bit of breathing space,” Duncan said. “That was the difference in the end.”

The set pieces were a mixed lot. 

The lineout didn’t function well and the scrum was under pressure at times and good at others.

It didn’t immediately but Duncan also had no doubt five-eighth Bryce Daniel’s injury early in the game had an impact.

He was injured delivering the pass to Kieran McHugh for their first try.

Since Daniels moved into 10, the backline has looked a lot sharper.

“We were really lucky we could push Luke (Neal) in there,” Duncan said.

He was playing 10 before they’d moved Daniels there and knew the role and the plays.

For the negatives there were plenty of positives.

Most of those came in the first half.

They had good continuity, had passes finding players in space and some great interplay between the backs.

Breakaway Harry Veitch was, as usual, in the thick of things. He was strong ball in hand, made some crucial tackles and  on the ball all day.

Fullback Pat Strong also had a very strong game, finishing with a hat-trick.


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