The Gloucester Magpies took on minor premiers Abermain in the major semi-final on Saturday, August 26 at Raymond Terrace.
After being elevated a grade this year, the Magpies have overcome major problems with personnel availability to finish in fourth place.
Only a handful of points separate the semi-finalists in a very hard fought competition.
Abermain are a big mobile and well drilled side, but the Magpies could have been leading at half-time, coming within inches of scoring two tries.
Gloucester opened its account with a good individual try to Glen O’Davis that was converted by Novan Munro.
Gloucester appeared to be gaining the ascendency before half-time with the Abermain attach being punished with some good defence.
In the second half, Abermain came out refreshed and dominated procession to pile on the points with Gloucester managing to reply with only one converted try.
The Magpies attached was often fractured and disjointed.
Gloucester still lacks ball running back rowers who attack the fringes with Scott Wratten often filling in from the centres.
The forwards worked hard with Brad Staff having a big game up front, however as former Manly great, Ian Martin said at a recent Men of League dinner in Gloucester “the joy of playing rugby league is scoring tries, any side that bases its game on defence is in for a very hard life”.
The Magpies are very capable of processing through the final series but need to give their attacking back better ball delivery in better field position
The Magpies will play East Maitland this Saturday (September 2) with the usual supporters bus leaving the Avon Valley Inn.