Rivers' half of horror

❏ Rugby League By BOB ANTHONY bob.anthony@tweednews.com.au

"WE shouldn't have had half time." That's the verdict of Northern Rivers representative rugby league side coach Jamie O'Connor after his side bowed out of the NSW Country Challenge with a 42-20 loss to Wewstern Districts in Mudgee on saturday. The Northern Rivers side looked to be in control of the match in the first half, enjoying a 20-6 lead, which could have been greater had they not bombed try scoring opportunities. However, a try to Western Districts right on half time proved to be the turning point and the Northern Rivers struggled to contain their opponents in the second half while being held scoreless themselves. "In the first half, we could do no wrong," O'Connor said. "Everyone was playing really well and we were dominating but come the second half, it was a completely different story. "We were dropping off tackles and they just got a roll on which we couldn't stop. "There were scoring opportunities in the second half for us but we couldn't take them. "Honestly we shouldn't have stopped at half time." O'Connor said the scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the game and to have it blow out towards the end was very disappointing. "That's what happens when you don't play for the entire length of the game," O'Connor said. The loss means the representative players can hang up their boots with the Northern Rivers out of the comp. O'connor said the side was best served by winger Roy Bell who had a strong game scoring three tries and kicking two conversions while Murwillumbah halfback David Hicks also had a strong game for the entire 80 minutes. O'Connor said hooker David Skuse and Graham Smallwood also gave strong performances. It was better news for the Northern Rivers under 18 side which took the honours against Western Division 48-24 and now progress to the second round of the competition. NSW COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS A GRADE WESTERN DIVISION 42 Tries: Darren Jackson 3, David Elvy, Kip Maranda, Nethan Rollinson, Glenn Nunn. Goals: Peter Ford 6, Ben McAlpine 1 NORTHERN RIVERS 20 Tries: Roy Bell 3, Niko Vakararawa. Goals: Roy Bell 2 UNDER 18s NORTHERN RIVERS 48 Tries: Andrew Battese 2, Jy Hitchcox, Ben McLennan, Alex Butchies, Yuli McGrady, Anthony Flores, Cameron Gibson. Goals: Andrew Battese 8 WESTERN DIVISION 24 Tries: Sterling Seijka 2, Lee McClintock, Brad Marks. Goals: Jamie Graham 4



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