GROUP 3’s representative side suffered a setback before its Tier 2 Country Championships semi final kickoff at Forbes on Saturday, and never recovered as it went down 48-18.
Tristram Morris scored twice for G3, while Clint Walker grabbed one and kicked two goals, but it wasn’t enough to get the side over the line.
The match was going to be difficult for G3, after a long road trip out west, and things got worse when second-rower Daniel Dumas rolled his ankle at training on Friday night.
He was ruled out Saturday morning, after working on the injury most of the night.
“It blew up to be the size of a softball,” G3 coach Dave Henry said.
The tone of the day was set early for G3, when the side muscled up in the first set of six for the game and forced a mistake, only to see a 95 metre intercept try to G11.
Cold comfort for Henry was the fact that only one of G11’s tries came from a line break.
“The rest were from kicks and intercepts,” he said.
“But that’s footy I guess.
“They played very ad-lib footy – a lot of kick chases – and that’s very hard to defend.
“We broke the line a lot of times, but the ball would go to ground our we would make the wrong decision.
“We didn’t play anywhere near the level we needed to.”
Morris’ two tries had his side still in the game at halftime, at 18-8.
“He had a third disallowed,” Henry said.
Even when G3 was 20 points in arrears with only 20 minutes left on the clock, Henry thought his side could win.
“We were controlling the game, even from behind,” he said.
“We were busting them up the middle regularly.”
He said the standouts were Jesse Gleeson, Mitch Fowler and Robbie Trembath.
It was the second year in a row his side made the semis of the competition, and Henry was thrilled with the achievement.
“And now some of our 18s are starting to filter through to first grade, it’s great for our group.”