EXTRA ATTENTION: Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies second rower Corey Cross wears one across the jaw in a tackle against the Australian Army Thunder on Saturday.
EXTRA ATTENTION: Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies second rower Corey Cross wears one across the jaw in a tackle against the Australian Army Thunder on Saturday. Sam Flanagan

Magpies and Thunder can't be separated in thriller

RUGBY LEAGUE: A boisterous crowd packed into Bellingen Park on Saturday evening for an annual pre-season match, but few would have expected the game which was about to unfold.

The Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies were taking on the Australian Army Thunder in the Sgt Matthew Locke Charity Match, with both teams emptying their tanks in a thrilling contest.

The Thunder struck first with an early try after dominating field position, before five straight tries to the Magpies set them on track for their first win in the fixture for some time.

Three of those tries were by winger Brendan Deane who was electric on the flank.

His second four-pointer was an 80m intercept early in the second half to hand the Magpies all the momentum.

With little more than five minutes remaining, Bellingen looked to be home leading 22-6.

From there the game turned on its head, as the Thunder dug deep and exploded in attack, managing to score three late tries to tie the game at 22-22.

The Thunder even had time to win it, missing a penalty goal in the last minute before having a try disallowed on the last play of the game.

The crowd rightfully gave the players a roaring reception when the final siren sounded.

"I've had a couple of days to think about the game now and I can't fault my boys at all,” Magpies captain-coach Daniel Tempest said.

"The Army boys dug in and we did what we could to hold them out; we defended our backsides off.

"We had our opportunities throughout the game...

"Now we've just got to sharpen our attack and work on our game management.”



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