Warriors close but no cigar

The Dungog Warriors hosted the Raymond Terrace Magpies on Sunday, and although they put in a great effort finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard going down 24-14.
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A couple of pieces of individual brilliance from the Terrace fullback and a contentious refereeing decision were the only things that prevented the Warriors winning the game.

Dungog backed up their win against Stroud the previous weekend with another wholehearted effort, and with a few key players starting to filter back into the side, the Warriors can approach the second round with a fair amount of confidence.

Things looked ominous for the Warriors early on in Sunday’s game when in the fifth minute the Terrace fullback stepped through the Dungog defence and raced 70m to cross for a converted try.

The Dungog side didn’t panic and for the remainder of the half looked the better side, completing their sets of six and enjoying good field position.

Ten minutes before the break Chris Evans, fresh from a 30 hour flight from Europe, was held up over the line and not long after TJ Hoch was called back for a forward pass to deny the

Warriors a try.

Sustained pressure for the Warriors finally paid its reward when Lochlan Windebank finished off a backline movement to cross out wide. With the try unconverted the Warriors went to the break behind 6-4.

All Dungog needed to do in the second half was repeat what they’d done in the first half and a victory looked on the cards.

They certainly seemed to have the measure of the Terrace boys and were right in the game. In a sense the Warriors started the second half similar to the first when at the 45 minute mark the terrace fullback in a carbon copy of his effort in the first half again stepped through the Dungog defence to race 80m to score a converted try to lead 12-4.

In the 52nd minute Hamish Evans followed through a kick on the last tackle and looked to have grounded the ball just before the dead ball line to put the Warriors back into the match.

The referee, in a good position, looked certain to award the try but after consulting with the linesman some 50m away ruled that Evans had grounded the ball on the dead ball line.

Players from both sides were becoming frustrated with some of the referring decisions with a Terrace player being sent to the sin bin and followed soon after Warriors captain Fletcher Celand.

A penalty from the Celand sin-binning saw Raymond Terrace extend their lead with a converted try from close range. Adam Darr gave the Warriors a glimmer of hope when he finished off another good raid by Dungog to score a converted try with fifteen minutes to go.

Terrace finally put the issue beyond doubt when they scored a soft try from a tap restart to lead 24-10. Jackson Bell in his first game back for the Warriors after several weeks completed the scoring for the day when he finished off another backline movement from the Warriors to go over in the corner on the stroke of fulltime.

In a nutshell, two pieces of brilliance from the Terrace fullback was the difference in Sunday’s game.

All the Warriors tries were a result of good team play and if they continue to promote the ball in a similar vein for the remainder of the season the wins will start to come.

Best for the Warriors in the backs were Dave Taylor whose return to five eight certainly gives Dungog more options in attack, Mark Blandford who continues to produce wholehearted efforts and Hamish Evans whose effort and commitment are certainly an inspiration to his teammates.

In the forwards Aaron Locke produced his usual nonstop effort and Fletcher Celend from dummy half caused the defence plenty of problems.

The only down side for the Warriors on Sunday was the depressed cheek bone fracture suffered by front rower Dan Rumbel.

Dan has been a tower of strength up front for the Warriors over the past few seasons and will undoubtedly be missed in the coming weeks.

The Warriors now have a fortnight break due to a bye and the long weekend with their next game against West Wallsend at Dungog on Saturday, June 16.

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