Gritty Macksville get last minute win

Macksville Reserve Grade player Samuel Radoll runs the ball. Photo: Charlie Dent.

THE Macksville Sea Eagles traveled north to the Solitary Islands Sports Ground to take on the Woolgoolga Seahorses in three grades on the weekend.

Unfortunately Woolgoolga had to forfeit in the under 18s.

With Woolgoolga being the defending premiers it was always going to be tough for Macksville, but they showed up for the game ready to do battle.

Two under 18s boys also made their first grade debuts; winger Brayth Ledger and five-eight Rielly Laverty.

It was scrappy early with the Sea Eagles only completing two of their first seven sets, forcing them to do more than their fair share of defensive work.

Woolgoolga were first to score after 20 minutes with a converted try to give them a 6-0 lead.

Macksville struck back eight minutes later with a try to Brodie Bartlett, which was converted by Andrew Blair to make it 6-6 going into half time.

Ball control didn’t improve much in the second half as Woolgoolga retook the lead with a try out wide three minutes into the half to lead 10-6.

The game settled down and both teams went set for set for a while until Woolgoolga found some space behind the ruck and crashed over near the posts to extend their lead to ten points, 16-6 with 15 minutes to play.

The Sea Eagles got possession, put some sets together and forced a line dropout.

From that next possession some good runs by the forwards saw Frank Winterstein cross the line.

The conversion that followed got them back to within six points; Woolgoolga up 16-10 with ten minutes to play.

Macksville’s gutsy defence kept turning Woolgoolga away and some possession came back to the visitors who marched up field with penalties going their way.

With just one minute left on the clock and Sea Eagles inside the attacking zone, Captain/Coach Matt Hyland called the ball to the right, drew a defender and found Rielly Laverty who stepped one defender and got on the outside of another to score a try to level the scores as the bell sounded in the background.

Andrew Blair stepped up for the conversion, about 15 metres to the right of the post.

He lined it up and put the ball between the posts to give Macksville the win 18-16.

Gus Single was Player’s Player with an outstandingly tough performance, although there were plenty of good performances across the park.

Macksville led 8-4 at half time in a tight Women’s tackle contest, however the second half saw Woolgoolga come back and take the lead 10-8 with twenty minutes to play.

Both teams traded sets and it wasn’t until the last minute of play that Macksville scored through Georgia Dent to take the lead.

The Jill Lihou conversion on the bell gave Macksville a 14-10 win with tries to Jill Lihou, Poppy Johnston and Georgia Dent.

The Reserve Grade matchup was a physical battle, with Macksville holding a 14-6 lead at half time.

Woolgoolga then took the lead with two second half tries before Macksville kicked into gear again.

Two tries to captain/coach Dave Lindsay, both converted by Cameron Cohen, saw Macksville win 26-16.

Try scorers were Jordan Leckie, Kurt Stennett, Wyatt Rouse and Dave Lindsay (two).

Cameron Cohen kicked three goals.

Next Sunday Macksville head to Grafton to take on the Grafton Ghosts.

As we head into the second half of the season, Macksville First Grade are in third place, Reserves are first, Women’s tackle are in second and the Under 18’s are in top spot on their respective ladders.

By Mick BIRTLES and Nigel WILBOW

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