Glen Innes Magpies in Group 19 grand finals in A grade and league tag

Mistakes hurt the Glen Innes Magpies in Sunday’s rugby league grand final loss, where a strong second half saw them almost pinch victory.

The 36-28 loss against the Moree Boomerangs, looked like it could be a one-sided contest earlier, as they made the local side pay for their mistakes.

“There were a few missed tackles here and there, and a few dropped balls in crucial points of the game, that let us down,” coach Nick Say said following the Group 19 decider.

“You can’t give a side like Moree Boomerangs cheap football. We gave them too much cheap football and they played off the back of it, so it’s disappointing.”

But the Magpies showed they could match it with the Rangs, narrowing the gap in the second half to make a contest of it.

The Magpies had been trailing 18-6 at the end of the first half, before a try and conversion reduced the margin to 18-12. 

But the Moree side then scored and converted two more times, making the score 30-12, before the second-half surge by the Magpies narrowed the difference to two points with only 11 minutes remaining.

While momentum looked like it was with the Magpies, a final try by Moree’s Peter Duncan and successful conversion by Will Fernando was enough to secure the win for the Rangs, with the final score 36-28.

“When we got a bit of a roll on, we controlled the football a bit better which helped,” Say said.

“I thought our middle boys played well, Ducky and Daniel Cheers, he played a big game. He got knocked out in the first five minutes and played the full game. I think our forwards all played really strong, which was nice, but it was a disappointing way to end the season.”

Looking back, Say said the club had come a long way since it was unable to field a senior team two years ago, and he praised his side for the way they fought out the grand final.

“We knew we had to stay in the game for 80 minutes, and I thought we did, so it was pleasing that way. The boys showed a lot of heart, but it was disappointing to lose.”

“It’s tough to lose, but you’ve got to be in them to lose, so that’s the positive thing,” he said.

It was a bad day for the Magpies, with the league tag side also losing their grand final to Inverell.

The girls’ side had been aiming to win back-to-back premierships after claiming last year’s title, but in the end the Hawks easily accounted for the local side, winning 18-4.