BROUGHT DOWN: Lower Clarence Magpies captain Tom Martin puts in a tough tackle to stop an advancing Marist Bros attacker.
BROUGHT DOWN: Lower Clarence Magpies captain Tom Martin puts in a tough tackle to stop an advancing Marist Bros attacker. Belinda Martyn

Magpies fall to Rams in physical encounter

RUGBY LEAGUE: Lower Clarence Magpies were unable to make it two wins on the trot, but second-row leader Alex McMillan said the side again showed great signs.

The Magpies stayed within touching distance of opponents Marist Bros Rams throughout the full 80 minutes but were just unable to land the decisive blow when they needed it, with the Rams running out 33-24 victors at Yamba League Field.

In what was a physical encounter between the two sizeable squads, the momentum shifted between both sides as they landed blows on each other throughout the clash.

"It went a bit to a fro for most of the game. They got off to a good start but I was really impressed with how our boys managed to peg them back,” McMillan said. "(Marist Bros) are just a consistent team all across the park and they played well out there.”

Lower Clarence players were left scratching their heads in the second half after Marist Bros was allowed to play on despite a scuffle between players in back play.

Magpies second rower Kyle Roberts was outnumbered in the altercation, and when several Magpies players ran out of the line to support their teammate it left a gaping hole, and Marist took full advantage, extending its lead to 10 points.

"It was a tough one for us, but I guess it is a fair call,” McMillan said.

"We just need to remember to play to the whistle. But we weren't going to leave our bloke alone.”

Experienced Magpie Brian Quinlan retained his spot at halfback for the clash, and McMillan picked him as one of Lower Clarence's best on field.

"He has a very good show-and-go and he split them a couple of time there,” McMillan said.

"He picked out a guys in the defensive line to run at and he made him look pretty silly a few times there.”

The Magpies will get on the road this weekend for the toughest test of the season yet when they meet Ballina Seagulls at Kingsford Smith Park.

"Commitmewnt to travel has been a problem for the club in the past, but we will just see how we go,” McMillan said.

"We showed against Cudgen in the opening round that we can mix it with the big sides, and our defence is worlds better this season.

"We will just have to go in there with the right mindset and see what happens.”



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