Group 19 rugby league: Moree Boars defeat Glen Innes Magpies 26-16 in under-18s major semi final

GRAND FINAL READY: Jock Brazel and the Moree Boars under-18s are through to the grand final after a 26-16 win over the Glen Innes Magpies on Sunday. Photo: Ellen Dunger.
GRAND FINAL READY: Jock Brazel and the Moree Boars under-18s are through to the grand final after a 26-16 win over the Glen Innes Magpies on Sunday. Photo: Ellen Dunger.

The Moree Boars under-18s are through to the grand final after a win over the Glen Innes Magpies in the major semi final on Sunday.

The Boars made the trip to Glen Innes and battled cold and windy conditions to come away with a 26-16 win.

"The cold air blew straight through you. It was probably the worst conditions I've seen as far as wind goes," under-18s coach Todd Mitchell said.

Despite the weather, the Boars stuck to their game plan, minimising errors to keep the pressure on the opposition.

"I can't remember the boys dropping the ball in the first half," Mitchell said.

"They just kept their passes short, they played to the conditions.

"They played with a lot of intensity. They played the perfect game in those conditions."

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It was a horror start for the Boars, with Dale Smith crossing for the Magpies within 90 seconds to go out to a 4-0 lead, but it didn't take long for the Moree side to bounce back when Luke McDonald crossed the line in the seventh minute.

The Boars were in again through Latrel Newman in the 13th minute to extend the lead to 12-4 before Neville Sharpley added another 10 minutes later.

A try to Magpies' Jason McAlister in the final minutes of the first half gave the Boars an 18-10 lead at the main break.

Kaedyn Smith got the Boars off to the perfect start in the second when he scored three minutes in to make it 22-10.

The score remained that way for the next 20 minutes before David Annis-Brown sealed the win with a try in the 53rd minute.

Dale Smith crossed for his second to give the Magpies a consolation try in the final minute, but the Boars had well and truly booked their spot in the grand final.

With the wind at their back in the first half, Mitchell thought the Boars might have been six points short of what they needed to be at half time, but praised his side's defensive effort in the second half, keeping them scoreless until the dying seconds.

"It did worry me in the second half. With the wind, I thought it might be pretty hard for us," Mitchell said.

"They played really well, the boys. They really dug in. There was no way they (Magpies) were getting through the defensive line."

Mitchell didn't want to single any players out in the win, but said the front row of Annis-Brown, McDonald and Corey Ricketts led the way in defence.

"They held that centre really tight around the ruck and their defence was fantastic," he said.

"It was nice and solid and nice and hard. They all played well."

Mitchell also made mention of 16-year-old Josh Ricketts on the wing who, despite being the smallest player on the field, constantly stood up and held back any threat that came his way.

"That pretty much sums up our day, this little feller who got in there and got stuck into it," he said.

"It exemplifies how we all felt yesterday and how they all played.

"It's all for those young fellers, it's all about them. They wanted it and they went out and did the job."

The Boars will face the winner of this weekend's preliminary final in the decider, with the Magpies taking on the Tingha Tigers in Moree on Sunday.