Army Thunder dig deep for charity match win
TRAILING by six points with only 20 minutes remaining of the Sgt Matthew Locke MG charity match, the Australian Army Thunder team had to find something extra.
The Bellingen home team with some help from former players to form a Barbarians line-up had fought back from a 12-0 deficit early in the contest to lead 18-12 with just a quarter of the encounter to go.
Thunder captain Pte Mahn Darley said the message was simple.
"I said to the lads if we hold the ball, we've got the fitness," the Army fullback and goal kicker said.
"We're tired but they're more tired so we just had to hold that ball and probably that last quarter was when we held the ball the best out of all of them.
"In the end that's what the game plan turned into, hold the ball and we'll get over the line."
A converted try from Pte Dylan Gallen that left four players from the home side clasping at thin air while trying to stop him equalled the scores.
Having already scored a double himself earlier included a brilliant intercept and 80 metre effort, Luke Beaumont gave the Barbarians a two point advantage via a long penalty goal from 45 metres out.
The Thunder weren't done with yet and dug deep to defend the team's winning streak in this fixture with prop Tpr Terence McLeod stretching at the line next to the left goal post to steer the team toward a 24-20 win.
Having now played in nine Sgt Matthew Locke MG charity matches, Pte Darley said it's just as important to him now as it was when he played in the inaugural match at Bellingen Park.
"I never met Matty but I feel like I have. I feel like he's one of my brothers," he said.
"What it meant the first time that I came here and the shivers that I got running onto this field and every year it's the same.
"I try and instill that into the lads that it's such a big week so when you get on that field and wear that Army jersey, wear it with pride and don't take it for granted."
AUSTRALIAN ARMY THUNDER 24 (Pte Samuel Bowden, Pte Andrew Farrell, Pte Dylan Gallen, Tpr Terence McLeod tries; Pte Mahn Darley 4 goals) def MAGPIES BARBARIANS 20 (Luke Beaumont 2, Louis Taylor, William Warner tries; Beaumont, Mike O'Connor goals).