INSPIRED by a stellar performance from captain-coach Ben Jeffery, awesome Albury dumped Young out of the Group Nine finals at Greenfield Park on Saturday.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Albury centre Chris Seaton crossed for two tries as the Thunder ended Young’s season on Saturday. Picture: The Border Mail
With Jeffery delivering a football master class, Albury recovered from an early setback to sweep aside the Cherrypickers 32-22 in the elimination final.
In clearly his most dominant display of the year, the Thunder skipper not only scored two breathtaking solo tries, but rattled Young virtually every time he had the ball.
Showing impeccable timing, Jeffery came to Albury’s rescue after Young lock Haydn Cowled struck for a try in the 15th minute.
Barely four minutes later, Jeffery asserted his authority by stepping brilliantly from 20 metres out to blast over for a superb try to put Albury ahead.
And there was no stopping the Thunder from there on in.
Another magnificent try to Jeffery in the 51stminute – this time he absolutely blitzed Young from 60m out – had Albury up 24-16 and almost across the line.
Savouring the six tries to four victory, Jeffery later revealed the Thunder were a team on a mission.
“We just need to keep on improving by 5 per cent,” Jeffery said.
“We’re definitely getting better every week.”
Fresh from stunning Gundagai at Anzac Park a week earlier, Albury refused to let the momentum fade on Saturday.
Taking their lead from Jeffery, the Albury forwards stepped right up to the mark to outgun Young at their own game.
Rather than let the Young pack set the pace, their Thunder counterparts –most notably Jon Huggett, Joe Silafau and Dave Cowhan – ripped in with a brutal mix of aggression and determination.
Little wonder that Jeffery gave them a rousing commendation.
“That’s what you need to win semi-finals,” he said.
“They (forwards) gave us the start.”
Up 16-10 following a slippery try to Young winger Jack Bush in the 32ndminute, Albury had jumped ahead 20-14 by half-time, courtesy of a fortuitous try to Huggett four minutes later.
Critically, Young halfback Matt Murray pounced for the opening try of the second half – he showed silky skills to dance over from 15 metres out– but Jeffery’s 60-metre effort gave Albury breathing space.
The Thunder extended their lead to 30-16 when Shannon Rupapere bolted over off a Mitch Seaton pass in the 57thminute before a Rupapere penalty goal pushed the advantage to 16 points.
Near the end, Young fullback Tom Bush snatched a try but the team had already been counted out of the finals.
Albury will continue their finals campaign against Juneenext Saturday.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.