The Gwydir League machine continued on its winning way on Saturday with a tough but convincing win over the Inverell Hawks. The 52-6 victory was the 8th on the trot and making it 4 wins from 5 away games, a tremendous effort. The Club is now equal first in A Grade with Glen Innes and the Moree Boomerangs.
The reserve grade also won, 36-12 and the girls were great, despite losing by 10-22. In fact the Gwydir League net team was very competitive for the entire match and the only difference between the teams, was the sheer brilliance of Cheyane Munro who scored 3 of Inverell’s 5 tries. For Gwydir, Stephanie Rogers and Kearni Churchland scored tries and Tiarna Molloy kicked a goal. Player’s Player was Liz Gordon and she also collected 3 best and fairest points, Gemma Hawkins (2) and Steff Duff (1). Melissa Molloy received one point from the Referee.
The Reserve Grade match was all Gwydir in the first half with tries to Steve Calman (5 mins) Sam Cooper (9m), Willie Price (18m), Jayden Fields (25m) and Rocky Hall (30m) to set up a 24-0 lead at the break. Hall also kicked 3 goals and finished with 4 for the match.
However Inverell got going in the second half with each team scoring 12 points. Fields scored a second and Captain Mick Wade got one. Player’s Player was Wade, he was awarded 1 point by the referee and three Club best and fairest points. Mark Sankey received 3 points from the referee, Jayke Aleckson 2 and Jordie Batchelor 1.
One of the features of the day was the terrific spirit displayed in all games and the determination of Inverell, despite being outgunned by a fitter more structured opposition.
The First Grade was played in cold conditions with rain threatening most of the afternoon. Inverell had the better of the first 20 minutes and looked like skipping away to an early lead and only desperate defence by Gwydir kept them out. However as the visitors gradually got a bit more ball, they started to get on top of the Hawks. Gwydir had a changed combination due to injuries. Mitch Porter at half, Sam Armstrong (Fullback) and Andrew Wynne (Wing) covered the gaps left when Matty Cleal and Todd Simpson were unavailable.
At the 21st minute, David McGrady broke the deadlock and Ashley Churchland converted. In the next 19 minutes, tries to Armstrong, Harold Duncan and Tyler Dennison set up the win by leading 24-0 at the break. The next 40 minutes was all Gwydir with tries to Duncan (2), Aaron Rodilossi, Wynne, a second for McGrady with Churchland kicking six goals for the day. At 52-0 the Hawks scored in the last minute to make the final score 52-6.
Duncan on his 21st Birthday completed a triple and his finishing on the wing is one of the key elements of the Club’s success. Both on and off the field, the winger is a great ambassador for the game. The referee awards went to David McGrady (3) Brendon Critchlow (2) with Armstrong, Steve Garrett and Duncan also awarded best and fairest points. Duncan was also Player’s Player.
In other games Moree d Glen 22-18, Tingha d Ashford 44-0. In reserves Moree and Glen 18 all, Armidale d Uralla 34-24, Tingha 42 d Ashford 6. In League tag Glen d Moree 26-8, Uralla d Armidale 34-0, Tingha d Ashford 32-12
Next week Tingha v Gwydir, Moree v Inverell, Armidale v Glen Innes, Uralla v Ashford
In view of the run of injuries, the Club has made some late signings that include two Bingara forwards and Brett McGrady. McGrady will bring a lot of experience to the Club and able to slot in anywhere in the backs.
The Bingara boys, while a bit short of condition will provide plenty of experience up front. The increased depth is a must to enable 17 fresh players to be available for first grade in the run down to the semi finals.