Valleys display diehard spirit
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
LED by two Kiwi imports, Valleys showed plenty of fight in their 30-20 Gladstone and District Rugby League A grade loss to Wallabys at Marley Brown Oval on Saturday night.
Five-eighth Samuel Herbert and centre Jackson Crangle added an extra element to Valleys' attack in a promising sign of better things to come for Diehards coach Graham Appo.
A solid performance by Wallabys was enough to hold out the Diehards who, despite producing exciting passages of play, let themselves down with poor han-dling at crucial stages.
Valleys proved they were made of sterner stuff from the start with Wallabys throwing plenty at them early but being rebuffed until the 18th minute when second-rower Daniel Beahan crossed for a soft try off a scrum win.
Wallabys took a 12-6 lead into halftime and when Matt Baker scored after smartly grubbering for himself shortly after the break, the favourites appeared in control at 18-6 up.
However, the new-look Diehards responded with two tries to second-rower Daniel Hoad, running wide on the right, in the space of four minutes to reduce Wallabys' lead to four points.
Hoad should have crossed for a third in the 62nd minute but spilled his chance as the ball was again spun wide off a scrum win set up by a booming Adam Alexander 40/20 kick.
The miss gave Wallabys the chance to kick away again with centre Chris Butler burrowing over from close out five minutes later.
Valleys kept their hopes alive with a try to centre Nick Cowburn five minutes from the finish but it was Butler who sealed the issue with his second try just 30 seconds from the finish.
Butler and prop forward Aaron Farrar were outstanding for a Wallabys side below its best but still tough to beat.