26 April 2023

Albury Thunder stop defending champs in round two of Group Nine

| Glenn Pallister
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Rugby league

Albury Thunder stopped the defending champs in round two of Group Nine. Photo: Albury Thunder/Cat Butler Photography.

Week two of The Great Northern Group Nine has seen Albury Thunder maintain its unbeaten start by knocking over last season’s premiers Gundagai 34-26 with an away win in Gundagai on Saturday.

The Thunder went into the game without two of their big guns after captain-coach Justin Carney and Joe Silafau copped six-week suspensions after last week’s spiteful clash with Tumut, but continued an unbeaten run against the Tigers, having not lost a game to them since 2017.

Solid games by Jeremy Wiscombe, Lachy Munro, and Jackins Olam in the firsts, added to wins by the Thunder in reserves, under-16s and league tag.

READ ALSO The Gundagai lad who came to epitomise all that the Light Horse was

Meanwhile on Saturday, a magnificently turned out Twickenham showed off its new surface to host home side Tumut against visitors the Temora Dragons. An understrength Blues outfit was no match for a sharp Dragons team led by former NRL player Josh McCrone. The visitors really turned on the heat in the second half over a fading Tumut, eventually running away with the game 27-16. Drew Robinson bagged a hat trick for the Red and Whites, stamping them as a real team to watch.

The other team earmarked for big things this season, the Wagga Kangaroos, travelled to Young on Sunday to complete the round. In the Cherrypickers’ first hit-out of the season after a round one bye, they kept their noses in front and didn’t allow a spirited Roos comeback, eventually taking a valuable two-point victory at home.

Although the Roos were missing a number of key players through injury, captain-coach Nathan Rose believes the side still has work to do and took plenty away from the loss. Young will be better for the hit-out too, and all sides get a breather this weekend as the NRL rolls into town with the Raiders and Dolphins clashing at McDonald’s Park this Saturday.

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