Mallee Men slay weary Black and Whites

TWO ON ONE: Griffith's Troy Johnstone tries to tear through to West Wyalong defenders. The Black and Whites wore a one-off retro jersey for the match, inspired by the uniform of the 1990 Griffith premiership side, which beat West Wyalong in that year's grand final.

TWO ON ONE: Griffith's Troy Johnstone tries to tear through to West Wyalong defenders. The Black and Whites wore a one-off retro jersey for the match, inspired by the uniform of the 1990 Griffith premiership side, which beat West Wyalong in that year's grand final.

Group 20 rugby league

WEST WYALONG'S defence proved too strong for a weary Griffith side at EW Moore Oval yesterday afternoon. 

The Black and Whites came out of the blocks strong but the Mallee Men took advantage of the home side's lack of fitness and attacking flair to win 36-18. 

For the first 30 minutes Griffith had the bulk of possession and the match looked to be shaping up as a close contest - but Griffith centre Stephen Davies' mouth earned him a spell in the bin and the visitors capitalised on their advantage.

West Wyalong captain-coach Rohan Loudon was proud of his team for limiting the Black and Whites to three tries.

"We were lucky they didn't make us pay today but we held them out for three sets in a row at one point, which set the tone for the day.

"It was a very scrappy match - terrible really, too much dropped ball because we were pushing too many passes early on and we were getting frustrated. 

"The defence was great, but we didn't play very smart or take the right option a lot of the time, especially when they had a bloke in the bin for 10 minutes and we kept punching up the middle."

When West Wyalong's mullet-clad second-rower Aaron Duncan crossed in the 65th minute after a Griffith pass hit Michael Uin flush in the face, the margin went to 24 and it appeared a blow-out was on the cards.

But as Griffith coach David Milne said, Griffith showed plenty of determination to post the final points of the match and end on a positive note.

"We let them get away a bit there in the second half, but our good positive attitude meant we were able to come back at them towards the end," Milne said.

"Our attitude was spot on for the whole 80 minutes and we're not quite getting the execution right at the moment but that will come as the season rolls on.

"We're getting a bit lazy when we get tired, but that's just match fitness and we fell off a few tackles throughout the match.

"We'll be fixing that this week at training."

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