Group 11 2021: Parkes Spacemen bounce back with win over the Macquarie Raiders

RISING STAR: Forward Finnley Neilsen was one of the Spacemen's best players in their win over Dubbo Macquarie on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Jenny Kingham.

RISING STAR: Forward Finnley Neilsen was one of the Spacemen's best players in their win over Dubbo Macquarie on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Jenny Kingham.

The Parkes Spacemen have handed the Macquarie Raiders their first loss of the Group 11 season with 34-18 win at Apex Oval on Sunday.

Parkes coach Brent Wood was proud of the way his side defended after giving up 54 points last week to Nyngan.

"It was a good one, after last week we leaked too many points so we had to aim up and that was the focus all week," he said.

"We had to get a bit of hunger.

"I was real pleased even after they scored on the bell we still had men getting there and we were still working at the end."

Wood felt the Macquarie side may have underestimated Parkes in the week leading up to the match.

"We noticed that they were talking about Wellington and [Dubbo] CYMS so we thought they don't really care about us and we will give them something to think about." he said.

NSW Country Under 18s lock Finnley Neilsen was brilliant for Parkes and Wood was impressed with the youngsters performance.

"I thought Finnley Neilsen backing up from 18s was enormous, I thought he was great and our little hooker Connor Farrer was good too."

Debutant Raiders playmaker Blake Merritt was solid in his first top grade match but felt the side as a whole struggled as injuries ravaged the hosts.

"Yeah it was alright, we just obviously slacked off in a couple of areas there," he said

"We didn't really click as a side and that's what we train for, it was a good first hit-out for me on debut and hopefully there is more to come."

Injury to Matt Naden early in the first half meant Merritt was forced to enter the game early.

"Yeah it was a bit shocking, I thought I was going to be on a bit later but I had to step-up and did what I had to do," he said.

Bailey Hartwig opened the scoring for Parkes in the 15th minute before penalties allowed the Raiders an easy passage downfield.

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Raiders hooker Kane McDermott made the Spacemen defence pay when he scooted out of dummy-half and scored under the posts with Sam Coe converting to give the hosts a 6-4 lead.

Parkes fullback Jack Creith made an excellent run in broken play to set up a try for winger Wise Ratudina with Hartwig adding the extras to give the visitors a 10-6 lead at half-time.

Toby Danyer scored early in the second half as Parkes extended their lead further when Raiden Choice also crossed the line to give the Spacemen a 22-6 lead.

Coe showed some fancy footwork close to the try-line to give the Raiders a bit of momentum as Merritt added the extras.

Both Coe and Parkes prop Benny Cokanaisga were both sent to the sin bin with just over 10 minutes remaining in the match.

Parkes crossed to score two more times before Aston Warwick stepped two players to score on the siren to end the match 34-18.

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