Outgoing Young captain-coach Neil Thorman has rued the club’s mounting injury toll late in the season as his team exited the Group Nine finals race on Saturday.
Thorman is expected to leave the Cherrypickers following two seasons, and a 32-22 loss at Greenfield Park wasn’t the way the English playmaker thought things would end.
“I don't think as a team we deserved to end it like that," Thorman said.
“I thought we deserved to go further than the semis, we didn’t deserve to finish fifth and go straight into knockout footy.
“We were more than capable of winning the game."
Young lock Haydn Cowled opened the scorecard in the 15th minute, only to be outdone four minutes later when Albury blasted over the line.
Young managed to work their way back into the lead following a slippery try to winger Jack Bush in the 32nd minute, but Albury had jumped ahead 20-14 come half time.
Critically, Young halfback Matt Murray pounced for the opening try of the second half – he showed silky skills to dance over from 15 metres out. At this stage Young were within two points of Albury before the rub of the green went against them.
Young fullback Tom Bush snatched a try in the dying minutes of the game, although by this point the ‘Pickers had already been counted out of the finals.
Thorman – once again Young’s best – said a number of unexpected changes, such as winger Denvour Kiel’s injury early in the game, influenced the momentum shift.
“Albury scoring when Denvour went off injured, then they scored off a kick, (were) just a couple of plays that we could have done without,” he said.
“Little things change a game.”
Despite the premature knockout Thorman praised the effort of his team who he said stepped up to the challenge.
"We had plenty of heart, that’s the best thing, we had plenty of heart,” he said.
“I couldn’t have asked any more from them, the boys who were in the squad stepped up.”
In other grades the Cherryettes’ season came to an end in an 36-4 defeat by Gundagai, while the Under 18s will progress following a 28-24 win over Tumut.
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