Macksville Sea Eagles swoop in for a clean sweep against South Grafton

Macksville’s Brayth Ledger on the attack with Rielly Laverty and Symon Gleeson in support during Sunday’s Under 18s clash against the South Grafton Rebels. Photo: supplied.

THE Macksville Sea Eagles redeemed themselves after their previous round loss by securing a well earned victory over the South Grafton Rebels at Allan Gillet Oval last Sunday, winning 26-18.

The match saw the return of Joel Cooper and Zane Doolan to the Macksville side, providing a boost after their absence last week.

The Sea Eagles were missing Jacob Simpson however, who was out due to an injury received during training.

The game started with both teams not giving an inch and playing set for set.

Macksville opened the scoring against the run of play.

With the Rebels attacking inside the Macksville half, Stephen Blair took an intercept and ran 65 metres to score the first points of the match.

The Rebels fought back swiftly, briefly taking the lead 6-4, but Macksville regained control before halftime, with Daniel Donovan’s try and successful conversion putting them ahead 10-6.

The second half commenced with Macksville asserting dominance, extending their lead with tries from Frank Winterstein and front rower Joel Cooper.

Cooper crashed over the line after a line-break from near halfway saw some nice offloads in traffic, with ‘Blocker’ charging on to the ball and over the line to extend the lead to 20-6.

Sam Miles further solidified Macksville’s lead with another try, converted by Stephen Blair, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Rebels.

Despite a late resurgence from South Grafton, Macksville maintained their composure and secured the victory, much to the delight of the respectably sized Macksville crowd.

Sam Shields was Nambucca Valley Radio’s Player of the Match with outstanding displays of edge running and strong defensive work.

Sam busted the line on numerous occasions and looked dangerous every time the ball was in his hands.

Zane Doolan, Wez Brown and Joel Cooper played particularly good football as did Captain/Coach Matt Hyland, who has set his squad the task of winning every home game.

Special mention must be made of Gus Single, who was moved from the bench to the starting side and played the full 80 minutes in the second row.

Gus is still eligible for the under 18’s but didn’t look out of place in first grade.

Reilly Hancock, also from the under 18’s squad, made his first grade debut off the bench and held his own.

In the earlier games, under 18’s Macksville impressed again with a 26-12 win.

Both Rielly Laverty and Reilly Hancock impressed again as did Cohen Welsh with two tries.

The Women’s Tackle clash was an exciting game played in good spirits with Macksville getting the win 28-14.

Jill Lihou, Marli Bateman, Maleeka Darcy and Georgia Dent all had top games.

The Sea Eagles Reserve Grade also had an 18-8 win, with Josh Bartlett, Tyler Heke, Samuel Radoll and Captain coach David Lindsay all excellingl in a real team effort.

Next week both Nambucca Valley teams have the week’s rest with only a couple of make-up games that were washed out last week being played elsewhere in Group 2.

Both teams will be back in Round 4 with Nambucca Roosters heading north to take on the Grafton Ghosts on Saturday 11 May and Macksville traveling to take on the defending premiers at Woolgoolga the following day.

By Mick BIRTLES and Nigel WILBOW

Macksville’s Maleeka Darcy makes a break for the try line during Sunday’s Women’s Tackle clash against the South Grafton Rebels. Photo: supplied.

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