The Glen Innes Magpies’ return to Group 19 gathered momentum when they demolished Armidale Rams at Rugby League Park on Sunday.
The Magpies ran in 13 tries in a dominant display that left coach Nick Ehsman in a satisfied mood.
“That was a much improved display over what we showed against Tingha,” he said.
“Our completion rate was very good, we were patient and we didn’t drop nearly as much ball as we did against the Tigers. Every player stood up today but we still have to keep working hard.”
Glen missed an early chance to score but made no mistake a couple of minutes later when big bench forward Shannon Ellis powered over near the posts. The Rams levelled up soon after through Mike Ware, who charged through the middle of the ruck, but it was to be a long time before Armidale bothered the scorers again.
After 25 minutes, dynamic fullback Jarrod McIntosh sliced through to post his first try. Two more came before the break and McIntosh was a thorn in the side of Armidale defenders throughout the match. He added nine conversions from 11 attempts for a personal points tally of 30 points.
Second rower Tim Grob added a four pointer and Glen held a comfortable 28 – 6 advantage at the break. The one lowlight for the Magpies was the early loss of lock forward Ian Hope to a shoulder injury.
Immediately after half-time second rower Brendan Blacker crossed for another try. Glen’s forwards began to make ground at will with prop Sam Schiffman often leading the way but receiving great support from Grob, Blacker and hooker Jake Kelly, who was heavily involved.
Winger Chris Pedlow finished off a sweeping raid in the corner before Schiffman charged across the stripe next to the goal posts to take Glen out to 44 – 6 but soon after Armidale grabbed their second and final try through Zac Cross.
Rugby convert Adam Morris was impressive throughout the match and the final 20 minutes really belonged to him as he crossed for three four-pointers and continually scythed through the defence with strength and pace. Fellow centre Jake Hartmann who filled in at five eighth for periods of the second half, scored off a nice, short pass from McIntosh and from the re-start Grob raced eighty metres through the tiring defence for Kelly to stroll over between the posts.
Morris crossed for his three tries in the final seven minutes but to the delight of his personal cheer squad, former Elks teammates, who gave him a rousing reception.
While the standard of opposition was not especially strong, most of the Rams tried very hard, so Glen’s winning margin was an impressive effort. Again the second half was marred by injury, with winger Andrew Grob carried off with an injury to his knee.
The Magpies had a host of good performers but the standouts were McIntosh, Kelly, Schiffman and Morris.