Originally appeared in Armidale Independent on .

By MATT NICHOLLS

COLLEGE rugby sides St Albert’s and Robb will go into Saturday’s grudge match in good form after gutsy victories on the weekend.
Albies claimed the biggest scalp when they defeated Armidale 28-21 at Bellevue Stadium, while Robb tuned up for the rivalry clash with a tough 13-5 win at Guyra.
St Albert’s coach Tom Newsome said he was rapt to come away with the points against the Blues in a replay of last year’s grand final.
“We had a good game and we’re obviously pretty happy to beat Armidale, who were the form side,” he said.
Newsome said he thought his side played the conditions better than the Blues.
“We went away from our usual running game and played more field position,” he said.
“I thought we were very good defensive.”
The win did not make up for last year’s disappointing grand final loss, Newsome said.
“That’s in the past now. This year were are a completely different side,” he said.
“We are a lot smaller now, but we have different strengths.”
The coach paid tribute to lock Ollie Bartlett, who carried a sore back into the match.
The NSW Country under-20 representative player was a key player in defence and attack.
Other plays to perform for Albies were Travis Saxby, who started at fullback before moving to fly-half, while freshman Jacob Booby played a key role on the wing.
Meanwhile at Guyra, Robb College produced a big win in the cold conditions to pip the Ghosts in a tight contest.
The student side scored early and led throughout in what was a slog.
Robb and St Albert’s go head to head at Bellevue Stadium at 3pm on Saturday, while Armidale and the Barbarians do battle at the same time at Moran Oval.

NERU RESULTS
First grade: St Albert’s College 28 (Richard Edwards 2, Daniel Sweeney, Angus Howard tries; Sweeney 4 goals) d Armidale 21 (John Roberts 2, Dan Ah See tries; Josh Croft 2, Brodie Rigby goals); Robb College 13 (Jackson Strahley, Lachy Fletcher tries; Samuel Platts penalty goal) d Guyra 5 (Soane Vaha’i try).
Second grade: Armidale 17 d St Albert’s College 10; Glen Innes 40 d Robb College 0; Gwydir 43 d Guyra 0.
Third grade: St Albert’s College 8 d Armidale 3; Tamworth Pirates 27 d Robb College 0.

NERU LADDERS
First grade: St Albert’s College 11, Armidale 11, Robb College 4, Barbarians 4, Guyra 0.
Second grade: Armidale 10, St Albert’s College 10, Glen Innes 9, Gwydir 5, Robb College 5, Barbarians 4, Guyra 1.
Third grade: St Albert’s College 9, Armidale 7, Barbarians 5, Pirates 5, Gwydir 5, Robb College 0.