In a nail-biting finish to the elimination semi-final, Glen Innes Magpies’ under 18s team ended their season gallant in defeat.
The young side took on Moree Boomerangs in a do-or-die encounter and neither team could be separated after 60 minutes.
Momentum see-sawed throughout regular time but the ‘Rangs were first to dominate, jumping out of the blocks to lead 16-6 at half-time.
The Magpies fired early in the second half and piled on 22 points to lead 28-16 with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Moree added two converted tries to draw level at 28-all. Into extra time and the ‘Rangs continued with their pointscoring ways with two tries in the first term.
Glen Innes replied with two of their own and the game went into sudden death. A Moree goal ended the match and handed them the win 40-38. Glen Innes coach Gavin Peterson said the game had everyone on the edge of their seats.
“It was pretty intense and they were at each other the whole game,” he said.
“I thought we had the game in control with 10 minutes to go and then we let them in for two tries in regular time and we had to go into extra time.
“They scored two quick tries in the first five and I just thought it was pretty hard to get back from there but I was so proud and they did well to claw their way back and equalise again.
“I don't know how long we played in sudden death but it seemed like forever.
“I was just really proud with their efforts. Sometimes it is just not meant to be.”
Peterson will throw his hat into the ring to coach the young squad again in 2018 and, with a majority of the team still young enough to stay, hopes they can live up to their potential.
“Probably three-quarters will stay on, so that's exciting,” he said.
“Hopefully they can stick together and keep going.
“Considering most of them will be back next year, we built a bit of a foundation to continue on with hopefully.
“The 16s are going well so we will have a few handy players stepping up from 16s to join up with them too so next year looks pretty exciting.”