Close scores but Tumut take win

Malik Aitken scored a breakaway try to secure Tumut’s 34-28 victory over Albury on Sunday.

A BREAKAWAY try from Malik Aitken was just enough to give Tumut a big momentum boost heading into their second half of the season.

The Tumut fullback had been having a day to forget with a number of uncustomary errors before scoring the match winner with four minutes to play at Greenfield Park on Sunday.

With scores level after Albury ran in two quick tries, Aitken made a break around the halfway line and had enough speed to score in the corner.

It was just enough for Tumut to take a 34-28 victory.

Aitken had been struggling with illness through the week but Blues captain-coach Zac Masters was pleased to see him step up once more when it really mattered.

“He’s been awesome for us this year and luckily he pulled something out of his backside and ran the length to score,” Masters said.

“He did something similar last week so he’s having a great season.

“I know he’d like to take a couple of things back today but to finish it off like that was good.”

Zac Treglown made the most of his chance in the starting side by scoring Tumut’s first two tries.

However Albury had the answers and capitalised on a couple of Blues mistakes and tries to Jeremy Wiscombe and Jackins Olam had them out to an 18-10 lead.

A try to Billy Bridgeman right on half-time gave the Blues some momentum and they soon hit the front again after Masters provided Lewis Arragon with a flick pass to score early in the second stanza.

Treglown then gave up a hat-trick to find Trae King on his inside to help Tumut to a 28-18 lead.

Just as the Blues looked to be getting on top tries to Isaac Carpenter and Andrew Bonetti levelled things up with 10 minutes to play.

Enter Aitken to turn nothing into points to see the Blues win their third game of the season.

While it wasn’t their best display, the win all Masters was looking for.

“For us it was probably the week from hell with everything that went wrong,” he said.

“We had a couple of blokes go down with Covid, injuries, blokes away and even reserve grade played with 14.

“We had limited numbers, didn’t have any fresh blokes on the bench, but came down here with a bit of a whatever it takes attitude and that’s how it played out.

“We couldn’t have played much worse in both halves but whoever didn’t drop the ball the most was the winner in the end.

“Thank God it was us as we’ve let a couple of games go that we should have won this year and didn’t want to lose another one.”

Masters feels the Blues should have won their last five games after wins over Junee and Brothers were split by losses to Southcity and then Gundagai last week.

However after a tough start to their title defence, with losses to Kangaroos, Temora and Young on the road in the first three weeks, he’s hoping the side can take advantage of having the next two weekends off.

“From where we started the season to where we are now I think we can be pretty proud of the effort,” Masters said.

“There’s two games there, Southcity and Gundagai, that we probably let slip and if we won them we’d be sitting third.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the effort there and a four-point win going into the bye works well for us as we’re a bit busted.

“This was the worry for us going into the season as we obviously lost a lot of players and if we got injuries we were going to struggle for numbers but luckily it’s happened now when we’ve got a rest and hopefully we can attack this back end of the year.”

The result means Albury are now one point ahead of Tumut and still two points, plus significant points differential outside the top five.

They will tackle Brothers when the competition resumes on June 15.

• ACM

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