Newcastle rugby: Greens pay ultimate price for late lapse

MEREWETHER Carlton didn’t do a whole lot wrong.

That is what made their 26-24 loss to Maitland in the preliminary final on Saturday such a bitter pill to swallow.

A poor defensive read from a set play and two tired attempted tackles was the difference.

Maitland captain Chris Logan slipped though on an angle from a scrum move. The back-row couldn’t cover in time. Try. Game over. Season over.

“We talked about defence,” a gutted co-coach Mick Gill said.

“Throughout the semi-final series, everyone has been scoring 25 to 30 points plus.

“We spoke about defence and how it would win the game today. At the end, we missed a tackle not pushing across on the inside. That cost us the game”

Although “pretty hard to swallow” Gill said the loss would not overshadow “a fantastic season”.

“We have put some great things in place with people who want to be at this club and want to put on the green jumper,” gill said. “It a good culture and we have some good young players coming through. It has taken 12 months for them to realise how good they are and that they can compete with the best.”

Merewether had their opportunities. After conceding an early try, they hit back to lead 21-12 after 30 minutes and 21-19. They had the wind at their back in the second half and spent a large portion in Maitland’s territory.

Sam Dart lost the ball inches short of the line and they went close a couple of other times.

“We just weren’t quite smart enough,” Gill said.