Group 19 rugby league: Narwan Eels defeat Moree Boars 33-32 in minor semi final

SEASON OVER: Rodrick Smith and the Moree Boars A-grade season is over after a narrow 33-32 loss to the Narwan Eels in the minor semi final.
SEASON OVER: Rodrick Smith and the Moree Boars A-grade season is over after a narrow 33-32 loss to the Narwan Eels in the minor semi final.

An Alan Widders field goal in the dying stages has broken the hearts of the Moree Boars in their 33-32 loss to the Narwan Eels in the Group 19 minor semi final on Saturday.

With the score sitting at 32-all with around five minutes remaining, the game could have gone either way, but the Eels snatched a victory with a field goal with just one minute remaining.

Narwan captain-coach John Roberts led from the front, scoring a hat-trick in the win.

Despite the loss, Boars captain-coach Stan Swan was still proud of his team's efforts against a strong side.

"It was probably one of our better games we've played all year. The boys really stepped up," Swan said.

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The Boars not only battled against the Eels, but also against the elements, with snow even falling at one point during the game.

"It was a bit cold for our boys, the wind was very heavy out there," Swan said.

The Eels were the first on the scoreboard through Roberts just five minutes in before the Boars hit back through Walter Hicley and Joe Wade to make it 12-4 in the 16th minute.

Roberts had his second four minutes later to reduce the deficit to two points before Elijah Tighe handed the Eels the lead in the 31st minute.

The Eels got a big boost just before the break with Michael Cook scoring on the stroke of half time to give his side a 20-12 lead.

Swan asked his side to step up in the second half and Anthony Smith answered the call with a try just two minutes in to make it 20-18.

The joy didn't last long when Roberts completed his hat-trick three minutes later to extend the lead back to eight points.

However, the Boars would not go down, as they ran in three tries in the space of eight minutes through Smith, Brent McDonald and Rob Wade to take a 32-26 lead with around 15 minutes remaining.

Jaryd Ritchie tied it up in the 72nd minute to set up a grandstand finish before Widders' field goal sealed the victory.

Swan bemoaned a lapse in concentration towards the end of the first half which handed the Eels a good lead at the break.

"Just in the first half I think we fell asleep there for 10 minutes and Narwan put on a few points," he said.

"We had to fight hard in the second half to get us back to where we were and the boys did that and I was pretty proud of the boys."

Despite a disappointing end to the year, Swan still thought they had a season they can really build on heading into 2020.

"I thought the season went pretty well for the amount of players we had there," he said.

"The boys are keen to come back next year and build on what we had this year, because a few of the boys got better as the year went on."

In the league tag, the Boars suffered their first loss since round two, going down in a narrow defeat in the major semi final to the Armidale Rams.

Despite scoring the opening try, the Rams proved too strong in a 16-8 win.

The Boars will now face the Glen Innes Magpies this weekend in the preliminary final after the Magpies beat the Boomerangs 16-6 in the minor semi.