Group 19 rugby league: Magpies into the grand final

The Glen Innes Magpies A grade side are set to take on the Moree Boomerangs for Group 19 glory. 

CAUSE TO CELEBRATE: The Glen Innes Magpies A grade team beat the Hawks to secure their spot in the Group 19 decider. Photo: Brenton Hodge.

CAUSE TO CELEBRATE: The Glen Innes Magpies A grade team beat the Hawks to secure their spot in the Group 19 decider. Photo: Brenton Hodge.

The Magpies took on the Inverell Hawks in Sunday’s preliminary final to battle for a place in the decider and, after 80 minutes of see sawing scorelines, they emerged victorious. 

MISSED OUT: The Glen Innes Magpies under 18s were narrowly defeated in Sunday's preliminary final by the Boomerangs. Photo: Lynverell Photography.

MISSED OUT: The Glen Innes Magpies under 18s were narrowly defeated in Sunday's preliminary final by the Boomerangs. Photo: Lynverell Photography.

The Hawks held a 6-4 advantage at half-time and the lead swapped hands several times throughout the second stanza. 

Late in the match, Glen Innes found themselves down 18-16 but hit back with two tries to claim the 26-18 win. 

“It was unreal actually, it was a good result and a good achievement for the boys,” captain-coach Nick Say said of the win. 

“They hit the lead with about 12 to go so we had to dig deep but we knew there was plenty of time left in the game. 

“We scored one right on the bell which made it even better.”

The Varley Oval surface was just mud with the much-needed downpours softening up the ground. 

“Those conditions, it was a bit of a bash-a-thon in the forwards,” Say said. 

“It was good entertainment to watch. 

“There would be a few sore boys today. 

“There were no major injuries, a few boys might be a bit sore from running around in the mud.”

The Magpies have been beaten by their coming opponents three times this season but Say believes they can upset the Rangs on their home turf. 

“Not making excuses but the last time we played them here we didn't have a bench for the last 20 minutes or so and we were right in that game and they scored a try right on full-time which sort of blew it out a little bit,” he said. 

“When we played them out at Moree we lost a few players too but I reckon if we have a full side for the whole game, anything can happen.”

The Glen Innes under 18s also played a preliminary final on Sunday but were narrowly defeated 10-6 by the Boomerangs. 

Despite the loss, coach Gavin Petersen said they can hold their heads high. 

“We are a little disappointed but also very proud of their efforts,” he said. 

“They really played well, they did everything we asked them to do, they tried their guts out. 

“A bounce of the ball at the end of the game could have changed this but it wasn't meant to be. Definitely very proud of their efforts, they didn't leave anything out there that's for sure.”