Magpies captain-coach Grant Brown celebrates his field goal during the 2009 grand final at Maclean Showground.
Magpies captain-coach Grant Brown celebrates his field goal during the 2009 grand final at Maclean Showground. Adam Hourigan

Magpies ‘running scared'

PICKING and choosing who to play in NRRRL trial games is causing grief between local rugby league clubs.

Grafton Ghosts were set down to play the Lower Clarence Magpies last weekend in their final pre-season hit-out but in a last minute decision Lower pulled out of the match, citing player injuries as the reason.

The Ghosts camp was reportedly furious the Magpies cancelled the trial game at the last minute, denying them some much-needed match fitness.

To rub salt further into the wound, the Magpies then organised a trial match with the Grafton Rhinos reserve grade side, which was played under lights at Yamba Oval on Thursday night.

A near full-strength Magpies side defeated a depleted Rhinos 42-4 and will host the Kyogle Turkeys at the Maclean Showground on Saturday.

The Ghosts refused to comment officially on the matter but several players from within the club have accused the Magpies of running scared.

As a result the Rhinos' reserve grade side could be in for a torrid time against the Ghosts when round one of the NRRRL season kicks off this weekend.

The mail is several Ghosts' first graders will take the field against the Rhinos in a bid to gain some match fitness before their first game of the season against Evans Head in round two.

Magpies captain-coach Grant Brown was unperturbed by the Ghosts' claims and said he was not fazed by their accusations.

"Let them think what they want. They can have that attitude if they want. It doesn't faze me one bit," Brown said.

"Honestly, who cares what they think? If they think we're scared they've got another think coming.

"For us a trial's a trial and it doesn't matter who we're up against. We'll save them for the competition, when two points are up for grabs."

Lower Clarence enforcer Ryan Binge told the Examiner although the Rhinos might have lacked quality players the Magpies showed plenty of positive signs, particularly in attack.

"The Rhinos were missing a few players, so in the end we had to lend them some," Binge said.

"They weren't what you'd call a red-hot side but with all their players available I think they'll go all right in reserve grade this season.

"We had a couple of guys stand out. I thought Grant had a great game and our centres D J Eamons and Jerry Byers looked good."


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