Group 11: Nyngan Tigers score come-from-behind win over Parkes Spacemen

WORKING: Chad Porter (right) tries his best to get past the Nyngan defence on Sunday. Photo: JENNY KINGHAM
WORKING: Chad Porter (right) tries his best to get past the Nyngan defence on Sunday. Photo: JENNY KINGHAM

Justin Carney again paid tribute to the Nyngan faithful after the Tigers kept their unbeaten start to the Group 11 season alive on Sunday.

Despite trailing 12-0 inside 10 minutes at Parkes, the Tigers fought their way back and a late Jai Merritt field goal sealed the 31-24 victory.

The Tigers now sit at the top of the ladder alongside Dubbo CYMS and former NRL and Super League player Carney reiterated how happy he is around a buzzing Nyngan club.

"I remember when I was 16 and 17 playing there, we were getting flogged but there was still that buzz about," he said on Sunday.

"I've been all over the world but no-one is as passionate as them and does that.

"You can't get that in the big cities and that's what means the most to us. It's a really good place to play."


Coming off a lopsided win over Westside a week earlier, the Tigers were slow to get going on Sunday and the Spacemen capitalised, running in two tries in the first seven minutes to have Pioneer Oval cheering.

But the Tigers soon worked their way into the game and after Carney scored his side's first four-pointer the visitors went on to lead 18-12 at the break.

It was back-and-forth early in the second stanza but Nyngan gradually began to take control and led by 12 with 20 minutes to go.

But evergreen Parkes hooker Benji John scored to get the Spacemen back into it, only for the Tigers to keep calm and get Merritt in position to add the extra point.

We're a force together and we showed it today.

Justin Carney

"At the end of the day that (slow start) kicked us on and we stayed patient and ground it out," Carney said.

"You'll make mistakes and things won't go your way and that happened to us today (Sunday). But we played smart towards the end and that's the biggest challenge.

"As a collective we're making a go of it. We're a force together and we showed it today. There was no standout, we just ground it out."

In the continued absence of his brother Josh, Jai Merritt continues to guide the Tigers around and while he's impressed early on Carney said there was still more to come from all his players.

And while he's adamant his side will continue to improve, the former Roosters and Raiders gun has been impressed how quickly his side has come together.

"The boys are handling that well. I was quite surprised the way they've adapted.

"There's new players in key positions and you've got to figure out those strengths and weaknesses and the boys are really good at that.

"I'm new to the club as well but as a team we've come together well."

The one down-side to the win on Sunday was a suspected broken ankle for Tigers' forward Matt Fieldsend but Carney stated he was hopeful the injury wasn't as bad as feared.

The Tigers travel to Wellington for another bumper fixture next weekend while the Spacemen will look to bounce back when they host Narromine.

Narromine is coming off a 48-18 loss to defending premiers Forbes on Sunday.