GOT YA: Griffith centre Andrew Madden is wrapped up by the Albury defence in his team’s six-point loss to the ladder leaders at Coro Club Oval on Saturday. Picture: The Area News
A 20-minute spurt was just enough for Albury to return to the winner’s list against Griffith at Coro Club Oval on Saturday.
The Steamers trailed for most of the first half, before scoring four quick tries to take the game away from the Blacks late in the second half.
The Blacks went went from being on top with a 19-5 lead halfway through the first half, to trying to catch their breath as before a powerful charge from the Steamers saw them go into the second half with a31-19 advantage.
Although they managed to keep the Blacks tryless in the second half, they couldn’t chase down the top team in the competition to fall 37-31.
New South African recruit Lex Botha had a big influence on the game, scoring three tries to help Albury score its eighth win of the season.
The speedy centre has already impressed in Southern Inland and Brumbies Provincial representative duties, but pulled on the yellow and blue hoops for the first time.
One of his three tries was an intercept effort which helped change the fortunes of the game.
Coach Mick Raynes was impressed with his ability to find the line, and wants to ensure they Steamers provide him with quality ball.
Despite coming away with the win, Raynes expects more from his team.
“We got away with one,” hesaid.
“It wasn’t that impressive and I think Griffith played better football on the day.
“Their forwards were cracking, they possessed the ball and picked us off straight up the guts.
“We scored an intercept and a couple of opportunistic tries kept us in the game.”
After giving the Phantoms a big start in its only loss so far this year, starting slow is becoming a trend for the Steamers.
It’s something Raynes is looking to iron out.
“We can’t be giving up big lead like that and expect to hold in games,” he said.
The Blacks started well with tries to Vaea Mateo, Nick Gleeson and Semisi Rogoyawa before the Steamers’ onslaught hit.
Mateo reduced the margin shortly after the break, but James Olds slotted two penalties to keep Albury out of reach.
Mateo crossed for his third with five minutes to play, but the Blacks couldn’t make any more inroads to slip to consecutive losses.
The Blacks had plenty of opportunities to score late, and the Steamers goal-line defence was one pleasing aspects for Raynes.
Albury have a bye on Saturday which will help prop Jean-Laurant Pozzobon recover from a shoulder injury.
ALBURY 37 (L Botha 3, S Allen, L Krautz tries; J Olds 3 cons, 2 pens) d GRIFFITH 31 (V Mateo 3, N Gleeson, S Rogoyawa tries; V Mateo 3cons)
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