New England Rugby Union: Glen Innes defeated by Harbour Knights

A FOR EFFORT: Harry Brown was touted as one of the Elks' best in their loss to the Harbour Knights.
A FOR EFFORT: Harry Brown was touted as one of the Elks' best in their loss to the Harbour Knights.

The Glen Innes Elks got the first glimpse of what New England Rugby Union, the Harbour Knights, will bring to the table in Saturday's opening round.

The two clubs collided with the Harbour Knights scoring victories in both matches with a 50-nil shut out in second grade and a comfortable 38-5 in first grade.

Elks coach Tom Benton said there was still a lot to be positive about and believes the more time his team have together, the more of a force they will be.

"We just haven't played together enough haven't trained together enough and it just showed," he said.

"All of our boys were trying they were digging in but we were just outclassed.

"I feel like the scorelines didn't reflect the intensity or competitiveness of the games.

"Every now and then we would stuff up a one percenter and they would score off it.

"They really shifted the ball well to where it had to be, every time we made a mistake they scored, there was no room for error at all."

The Harbour Knights club is a joint venture between Mid North Coast clubs the Coffs Harbour Snappers and the Southern Cross University Marlins.

Benton credited the Elks' opponents for "well-trained" and "well-drilled."

"That Coffs team really played positional footy really well," he said.

"Every time we would start pushing them back or getting a bit of forward momentum, they would turn us around, put a kick over us and turn it around and put it back in our own half.

"We weren't able to match that. Every time we put in a kick, it wasn't going out and they were getting 30, 40 metres back on us."

Benton emphasised how well the Knights controlled the game.

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"They just dictated the entire flow and position of the game," he said.

"If we can take back a bit of control of the game, we have got a team that can beat that.

"They just dictated where the game took place and that was on our tryline."

Mitch Cook was highlighted for his performance for the Elks' second grade team while Harry Brown and Kiteau Fortu were acknowledged for their efforts in first grade.

The Elks will be back at home this Saturday for round two against reigning premiers Robb College.

The students were beaten in their first grade fixture against the Armidale Blues 31-20.

Benton believes Robb will come to Glen Innes well-prepared.

"They [Robb] have kept it pretty even with the Blues so no way they are going to be a pushover," he said.

"We will have to play our best footy to win."