The Lower Clarence Magpies put all the mid week dramas behind them last Saturday when both teams put on very encouraging performances. After a call to arms by coach Ryan McGoldrick earlier in the week, the players responded with some good team efforts. Numbers were still the bare minimum of 17 in each team but some players were unavailable and the effort shown on the field should attract more attention. In the A Grade, the team could not have got off to a worse start with Northern United racing in three quick tries to lead 16-0. Everyone feared the worse but it was not to be and the Magpies actually dominated the rest of the game. Grant Brown lifted the side with some brilliant individual efforts to score two tries. The coach kept things calm at the first break and with some positive messages the team responded and won the second third. Zac Nagle having his first game at fullback impressed everyone, as did Andrew Kapeen and Jared Day. Generally it was a real team effort and considering they were playing without the coach on the field the effort is more meritorious. The coach took the chance to have a look at his charges from the sideline and his words of wisdom at the second break paid dividends when Magpies actually hit the front 32-30 with five minutes to go. Northern scored a late converted try to finish winners 36-32. At the end of the match the coach congratulated all the players on their effort particularly some of the Under 18’s who played from the bench. He urged everyone to make the effort to get to training so as to improve on that effort. Earlier the Magpies Under 18’s were just as impressive with wins against Woolgoolga followed by a more difficult match against Northern United. What pleased coach Herron was the fact that his team was able to keep both oppositions scoreless. There is a good chance of a further trial in Maclean on April 3 against Marist Brothers from Lismore. This will be a tougher test before the opening game two weeks later against Cudgen up on the border.