Narwan-Armidale local derby lives up to expectations

After a slow start to the season, Narwan have landed their first win in the Group 19 season. 

WORKHORSE: Narwan forward Steve Widders is wrapped up by the Armidale Rams defence on Saturday. Photo: Layne Franks.

WORKHORSE: Narwan forward Steve Widders is wrapped up by the Armidale Rams defence on Saturday. Photo: Layne Franks.

In a local derby against Armidale Rams, the Eels managed to secure a 38-16 win. 

“It was actually a relief to get our first win of the season,” captain-coach Allan Widders said. 

“We have been close in a few games but we have finally put together 80 minutes which was good. 

“We worked on a couple of things, we knew we had to complete our sets and hold the ball and be patient.

“In the end that worked out alright for us.”

Widders said it was a typical local derby. 

“League is getting strong again in Armidale I think. It was definitely how they should be played,” he said. 

“It was pretty firey, there was a bit of talk in the lead-up but once the 80 minutes was done, everyone shook hands and had a beer.”

This Sunday the Eels are gearing up for a huge test in taking on the second-placed Moree Boomerangs. 

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Moree and Narwan share a strong history of close and exciting encounters and Widders is expecting the round seven game to be no different. 

“I don't think it matters where Narwan or Moree are sitting on the table, they always seem to produce these big games,” he said. 

“It has been something that has been going on for years and hasn't died down I guess.

“If you have nothing happening on Sunday, come down and have a look because you will definitely get your money's worth in the three grades.

“The boys are looking forward to it.”

For Armidale, assistant coach Luke Kirkby said the game against Narwan was an improved performance on previous weeks after a 58-12 loss to Moree Boars and a 66-nil thrashing at the hands of Glen Innes. 

“It has been the same problem all season, just tightening up our defence,” he said. 

“We let teams get some good yards on us and it is just hard to shut them down after that for the rest of the set of six.

“We defended a lot better against Narwan on the weekend but it is still not what we want at the moment.”

The Rams head to Inverell this Saturday to play a Hawks side who are flying high after downing ladder-leaders Moree Boars. 

“They will be fired up and wanting to back that win up so I am expecting them to come out hard against us this weekend,” Kirkby said. 

“Hopefully we can grind with them for 20-25 minutes and give ourselves some opportunities close to their line.” 

In the league tag, Armidale beat Narwan 16-nil and will play an Inverell team level with them on the table. 

Coach Mike Ware said the win came down to commitment at training and they are aiming to continue that against the Hawks. 

“To keep them to zero was really good. Defensively we were good and our attack started to pick up, especially late in the second-half,” he said. 

“It will be hard, we are away so we have to travel, we have to start well, that is what we have to do and put them on the back foot from the get-go.

“We only really have Kate [McCulloch] out and there is probably one or two that are carrying injuries but we should be right.”