Mustangs bolt ahead of Magpies
BELLINGEN was once again haunted by the ghost of Kempsey-trips past as its poor record at Verge Street Stadium continued yesterday.
The Magpies were beaten by a committed Macleay Valley 42-28 and coach Josh White was left to again shake his head in disbelief as he drove back up the Pacific Highway.
“It’s happened to us again,” were the first words that White uttered.
When asked for the reason that a trip to Kempsey went pear shaped again, White had his tongue firmly planted in one cheek when he responded: “Somebody decided that the Group team should play this weekend.”
With under 18s players filling in for gun players Danny Russell and Ryan O’Connor who were missing due to the Group 2 fixtures in Inverell, the Magpies went into yesterday’s clash undermanned but still warm favourites to win.
Despite the efforts of veteran Brad Hart who again produced a sterling performance, the Magpies were unable to counter the work of Mustangs fullback Jeremy Taylor who was clearly the best player on the field.
While 12 tries for the day suggests there were no issues scoring tries, both coaches admitted that they had trouble gaining any true momentum with the stop-start nature of the game highlighted by the 22 penalties that were awarded.
One thing that pleased Macleay Valley coach Adam McMurray though was the fact that his squad played like a team.
“Everyone played for one another and it was a decent team effort,” a pleased McMurray said.
“We played pretty good against Macksville last week except we gave some stupid penalties away.
“We carried that into this week and we got the job done.”
This result has seen Bellingen fall two games behind the competition leading Port Macquarie but McMurray says that the win is a perfect tonic for the Mustangs.
“We’ve got the bye next week so the two points have come at a perfect time,” he said.
“We’ve got Coffs Harbour at home after that and hopefully we can win that one. If we can turn on eight points I’ll be pretty happy.”