Stags in second-half surge
Rugby League: It was a result that blew the race for the South Burnett Rugby League premiership wide open, but Murgon Mustangs coach Jason Webber is not reading too much into his side's 42-26 loss to the Nanango Stags on Saturday.
In their first loss since the May 20 Domestic Violence round clash against Cherbourg, the Mustangs were overrun in the final half hour by a Stags side brimming with confidence.
"I think we just lost our way a bit in attack at the end, we rushed and panicked a little,” Webber said.
"We started to get fatigued, we didn't come up and defend as a group and it showed.
"We haven't played a lot of footy the past few weeks.”
Leading 26-20 early in the second half, the Mustangs looked to be in control of the contest before the Stags began an incredible try-scoring run.
Ashley Smallwood was involved in everything, as the Stags ran in five unanswered tries inside the final 30 minutes to seal a remarkable upset win in front of their home crowd.
"They do that, they get on a nice little roll and start to grow in confidence,” Webber said.
"That said, with eight minutes to go we were only down by 10 points. We had three sets on their line and couldn't find a way over.”
In a week where the league promised to crack down on swearing, an emphasis on the rule from the referees ultimately hurt the Mustangs the most.
"There was a bit of frustration there from the players, it got to them a bit I think,” Webber said.
"After 30 minutes we had a bloke sent off for a second swearing offence, and in the second half one bloke was sent after scoring a try.
"For about seven minutes there we had 10 players on the field.”
But Webber refused to blame the referees for the loss, and felt it could very well be a valuable lesson for his side with finals just around the corner.
"Sometimes you need a loss to ram home that you are actually beatable,” Webber said.
"It was a bit of a reality check for the boys who maybe thought we were going too well. We've slacked off for a few weeks at training, so hopefully this is the wake-up call we needed.
"And the Stags played a great game, full credit to them.
"If you give the opposition the footy and don't defend well, they'll put points on you and that's what they did.”