Tenterfield Tigers now top the Border League leaderboard by a slim margin after their defeat of Stanthorpe on Saturday and a draw between Inglewood and Killarney. Tigers’ captain/coach Brendan Minns, however, said it’s way too early to be planning a homeground grand final although that’s the team’s goal.
For a while it looked like the Tigers wouldn’t be able to field a full team when they travelled away to Stanthorpe, but in the end there was a squad of 16. A raft of what Minns called silly mistakes towards the end as the players tired gave Stanthorpe a look at victory, and the Gremlins made the most of the opportunities handed to them.
The Tigers were clearly leading 32-10 with around 25 minutes to go when penalties let Stanthorpe into the attacking zone and they took advantage, running the score up to 36-24 with one try scored on the bell.
“It gave us enough of a fright,” Minns said.
“After getting ourselves into a good position we let them back in within striking distance of taking back the game, but we dug in and held them out.”
Faron Anderson ran in five tries and Malcolm Wightman three, while Minns converted four from seven kicks. Geoff Swan made a welcome return earning three refs’ points, and Bruce Binge was named Players’ Player.
Minns said lessons learned from the encounter included that the team needs a bit more discipline, after giving away two or three silly penalties and way too much possession. That coupled with ball handling errors put too much pressure on the defenders.
There won’t be much relief from that pressure with the Tigers take on the Killarney Cutters at Rugby League Park from 2.30pm this Saturday, after the Cutters’ came close to downing last year’s premiers Inglewood.
Minns said he hadn’t spoken to any of the players involved but the 24-all score reflects a good game, and Killarney is a force to be reckoned with.
The Tigers are keen to retain their position at the top of the leaderboard, with the minor premiers going straight into the grand final with a homeground advantage.
“It’s where we want to be, and it’s a task we set ourselves at the beginning of the season,” Minns said.
“But it’s a little early to worry about that too seriously. We just have to play well each week.
We still have a lot of work, and a lot of areas to improve in.Brendan Minns
“We still have a lot of work, and a lot of areas to improve in.”
He said the competition is a lot closer than anyone anticipated, which is good for footy and good for the Border League, so he’s not looking too far ahead.
“We’re only four games into the competition. We’ve got a long way to go to be where we want to be.
“Stanthorpe are pretty handy and aren’t too far from a win. They’re a young side that just don’t stop.
“Killarney recruited well, and Ingelwood’s just a quality side.”
Minns is expecting another tough game this weekend against Killarney, who is the only team the Tigers have lost to this season, and that was on Killarney’s home ground.
“We’ve got to start well and be good defensively,” he said.
“We need better discipline, and to hold on to the ball and not give away penalties.
“If we can do those things well we can hold out Killarney.
“We’ve got to build off the win on the weekend and play well this weekend.”
Minns said Killarney will be tough, but potentially there’s an even tougher game on the horizon when the Tigers travel to Inglewood the following weekend.