Luke Covell on the burst against Evans Head. His defence, attack and goal-kicking will thrill footy fans again this season.
Luke Covell on the burst against Evans Head. His defence, attack and goal-kicking will thrill footy fans again this season. Blainey Woodham

Mustangs stomp over Pittsworth

MURWILLUMBAH Mustangs coach, Troy McLean, couldn't hide his delight after watching his team post an impressive 30-6 win over Pittsworth in their rugby league trial game at Murwillumbah Leagues Club on Saturday evening.

McLean, still working on combinations, especially out in the backs, gave 20 players a gallop against the Toowoomba Rugby League powerhouse.

The coach was delighted with the overall performance of his squad, particularly the defensive pattern and the one-on-one defence.

"The defence was excellent and I couldn't fault it but we still need to do a bit of polishing with the attack," McLean said.

That's despite the Mustangs running in five tries, all of which were converted by the incomparable Luke Covell.

McLean says he is "just about settled" on which players will start in the forwards and which of the big men will sit on the bench, but there are still berths up for grabs out in the backs.

"I'm still undecided who will play where in the backs as I've plenty of options with a number of blokes in the side who can play several positions," he said.

The centres were bit of a problem for the Mustangs during last year's campaign when a player capable of making a break at speed could have been a huge benefit, especially against arch-rivals, Grafton Ghosts.

But in the likes of new recruit, Michael Keating and Caleb Howell, fresh out of the under 18 ranks, the Mustangs look to have men capable of creating havoc out wide.

"Michael had his first run with us against Pittsworth and we all liked what we saw," McLean said.

"He's very good on his feet, has a bit of pace and is a very solid defender while Caleb just keeps improving - I'm expecting him to get a lot of game time in the firsts this season."

Covell looks set for another hugely successful season.

He was the best on the field against Pittsworth, getting through an avalanche of work in attack and defence.

Sam Panting showed he would be a key man for the Mustangs with a tremendous game at hooker.

His organisational skills at dummy-half and defence around the rucks make him an invaluable member of the team.

The Mustangs will open their Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season account with a home game against Byron Bay on Sunday week, April 15.



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