Magpies go down at bell

o Break: Brett Stapleton in action against Tenterfield, he booted three goals on Saturday. Obscured is Daniel Sharman.
o Break: Brett Stapleton in action against Tenterfield, he booted three goals on Saturday. Obscured is Daniel Sharman.

It was a tough day at the office for the Glen Innes Magpies at Inverell on Saturday, with the club losing three out of four matches on the day.

The first grade match in particular was a heartbreaker for the Magpies. They were up by 10 with seven minutes to go, but were somehow beaten 28-26.

Although, the Magpies were far from their best, with handling errors and penalties costing them victory in the end.

For the third time in as many matches, Glen took far too long to settle into the match and found themselves down 6-nil mid way through the opening half.

They went close to levelling the scores a couple of times, including dropping the ball over the line on one occasion, but Daniel Sharman finally put Glen on the board, when he dived over in the left corner.

The conversion sailed wide to leave the scores at 6-4 in Inverell’s favour.

Eight minutes out from half time, one of Inverell’s props was put in the sin bin for swearing at the referee and the Magpies were able to pounce on the advantage.

Jamie Watts put Glen in front just before half time, to add another try to his growing tally.

From this point on Glen appeared to be in control of the match, as they were starting to complete the majority of sets and were brutal in defence.

Jeff Moate added an early try in the second half to give Glen a solid 16-6 buffer.

But the match was turned upside down when Moate was sent to the sin midway through the final stanza.

Inverell capatalised almost immediately to reduce the deficit to 16-10.

Against all odds, with one of their best players in the sin bin, Glen scored an unlikely try to jump out to a 20-10 lead.

Brett Stapleton made a strong run from dummy half, before offloading to Watts who raced 50 metres for his second try.

The Hawks hit back a short time later to reduce Glen’s lead to 20-16.

After spending an agonising 10 minutes on the sideline, Moate returned to the field in emphatic fashion.

He steamed on to a Nick Say pass and barged his way over the try line.

Just as it seemed Glen had the game wrapped up, Inverell came charging back.

They scored with five minutes left on the clock to see the Magpies lead cut to four.

By the time Glen restarted there was only three minutes remaining, but that was all Inverell needed.

Three charging runs up the middle saw them work their way into Glen’s half.

On the final tackle of their set, the Hawks chipped over the top, and their winger toed through and was able to beat all Glen chasers to the ball.

The conversion was also successful, which saw the home side now leading by two.

Glen had time for one last attacking raid, but their attempt at a short kick off failed to make the required 10 metres and the match was over.

Both sides scored five tries, but Inverell was able to slot one more conversion, which was the final winning margin.

Although Glen had a number of chances to put the Hawks away during the second half and failed to do so.

In another blow for the Magpies, a number of players suffered injuries during the match. Brett Watts (arm), Mone Loketi and Matt Crowhurst (both ankles) all had to be taken from the field.

Magpie coach Dale Keegan was understandably disappointed his side’s effort.

“We made far too many mistakes,” he said.

“It was hard to get into any rhythm with the high penalty count.”

Keegan said the next couple of weeks will be focussed on rehabbing injuries and hard work on the training paddock.

“The important thing now for us is to rehab the injuries that came from the match.”

The Magpies top side now has two weeks off, as the next two matches are against Warialda and Uralla who don’t field first grades sides, before facing Tingha on May 13.