Nth Rivers team ?wins ugly

By BOB ANTHONY IN A game that 'could have gone either way', Northern Rivers edged out Gold Coast 32-30 in a representative rugby league match at Gold Coast Stadium, Carrara, yesterday.

With the result in the balance, an error by the Gold Coast gave the Northern Rivers the opportunity they needed to steal the game with three minutes left.

A relieved Northern Rivers coach, Jamie O'Connor, described his side's victory as 'an ugly win'.

"The game was there to be won and could have gone either way and fortunately it went our way," O'Connor said.

"The conditions were very hot and I think there was a touch of nerves on both sides but I was happy with the result and it has been a good preparation for our Country Challenge game coming up."

Northern Rivers led 18-6 at half-time.

The game, a curtain-raiser to the Gold Coast Titans v Parramatta Eels NRL game, was a see-sawing affair with Northern Rivers dominating on the scoreboard despite the Gold Coast having most of the possession.

Northern Rivers' best were former South Sydney winger Roy Bell, who crossed for a double, and the forward pack, which had to do a lot of work in defence.

Gold Coast's best were second-rowers Scott Gray and Dan Murphy and in the backs Darnell Clarke.

O'Connor now turns his attention to preparing his team for the NSW Country Championships, with them facing Western Division at Mudgee next Saturday. Gold Coast will play Ipswich in two weeks.

For O'Connor, the game yesterday gave him the opportunity to see how his new-look side was coming together and he was confident of building a very competitive outfit after the result.

"We had only six from last year in the squad but we have some good players," he said. "Our first goal is to get past the first round."

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