Albury Thunder recruit Joel Monaghan impresses on debut in West Belconnen Nines

BOOM Albury Thunder recruit Joel Monaghan has played a starring role in the team’s impressive performance at the West Belconnen Nines.

Coach Adrian Purtell was pleased with his side's performance in making the semi-finals in Canberra.

Coach Adrian Purtell was pleased with his side's performance in making the semi-finals in Canberra.

Monaghan was a constant threat as the Border side charged into the semi-finals before losing to West Belconnen 24-4.

Thunder defeated Temora 36-14 in the quarter-finals and beat Goulburn Workers 12-4 and Gungahlin Bulls 34-10 in pool matches.

“Overall, I was happy,” coach Adrian Purtell said.

“Everyone had a real crack.

“It was hard with only nine on the field and in the end we just ran out of bodies.

“We only had four players on the bench in the finish and a few of the boys were carrying niggles.”

Monaghan made a blistering start by scoring two tries in his debut against Gungahlin Bulls on Friday night.

“He’s a class act,” Purtell said.

“Any ball that went up in the air he pretty much dominated.

“He got every single one.

“It was good to have him around as he’s a quality player and bloke.”

Fellow recruit Robbie Byatt was also lively, scoring two tries against Gungahlin Bulls, and showed he will be a handful for opposition sides at Greenfield Park this year.

Big forward Joe Silafau injured his shoulder and was the biggest injury concern to come out of the tournament.

West Belconnen went on to take out the title.

Thunder take on Wagga Kangaroos in their next trial match.