Nambucca Roosters just one game away from a Grand Final

The Nambucca Roosters’ Paul Bell breaks through the Grafton defence for a try under the posts.

ALL three grades from the Nambucca Roosters ventured to Grafton on Saturday to compete in the Group 2 minor semi finals.

In hot conditions the Roosters First Grade side faced up against a determined Grafton Ghosts outfit, playing in front of a vocal and expectant home crowd.

For the first quarter of game time the ball worked its way back and forth to both ends of the field without points being scored, neither side making many errors and the completion rate, particularly for the Roosters, impressive.

The status quo was broken when a well aimed chip kick by Roosters Fullback Robbie Smith got his team into ideal field position to put real pressure on the Grafton line.

Frustration began to creep in the Grafton game and a costly penalty saw the Roosters No 12 Brody Simon break through for a try, converted by Tyrone Roberts-Davis, giving the visitors the lead 6-0 with 20 minutes on the clock.

Jubilation in the Rosters camp was short lived as Grafton’s Dylan Collet answered the Roosters just four minutes later, the try converted, the score now 6-6.

The tempo of play ramped up and, Brodie Simon, with a taste for putting points on the board, crossed the line again, converted by Roberts-Davis, and the Roosters in front 12-6.

With the half evaporating, Beau Langford was able to recover a wildly bouncing ball that had been kicked off the ground through the Grafton line and scored a try at the 32 minute mark.

Roberts-Davis’ conversion put him at three from three and the Roosters lead was now at 18-6.

In the last two minutes of the half a brilliant team effort across the paddock put Nambucca’s Mitchel Whitelaw in for a try, which could not be converted.

At half time the score was 22-6 leaving Grafton some serious work to do.

The home side began the second half by immediately putting pressure on the Roosters and Grafton’s No 2, Liam Bloomer, crossed the line seven minutes into the half.

Answering Grafton’s points in spectacular fashion, a lightning fast line break from Nelson Langley found Paul Bell in support who crossed the line under the posts.

The try was converted by Tyreece Sines, with the Roosters lead racing away to 28-10.

A Grafton fightback ensued and the Roosters were held against their line with the home side having the majority of possession.

With the Roosters under pressure but holding in defence and Grafton just not able to cross the line, frustration was evident from both teams and the game began to turn scrappy with the earlier flowing tempo all but disappearing.

When possession turned back in favour of the Roosters it seemed that Grafton had little left in the tank and, following a sustained attack on the Grafton line, Paul Bell was able to score again and the try was converted.

With six minutes on the clock the Roosters were to deliver a grandstand finish to the large contingent of their supporters who had travelled north for the afternoon’s footy.

Tyreece Sines ran half the length of the field to score, the try converted by Roberts-Davis to put the Roosters in further in front, 40-10.

Then, within minutes, Robbie Smith picked a hole in the Grafton line, and made a 60 metre run to score.

The converted try closed out the game with the Roosters winning 46-10 and only one game away from a Grand Final.

Reserve Grade

IN the Reserve Grade minor semi final the Coffs Comets took on the Nambucca Roosters at Frank McGuren Field, Grafton.

Big hits were a feature of this game right from the kick-off as the forward packs of both sides went at it.

The Comets drew first blood when Paul Tighe crossed the line, converted by Simon Kelly-Wynne.

Within the next five minutes Josh Jago-Dowdy would score a try in the opposite corner and the Comets looked dangerous early with the score 10-0 and only 15 minutes into the game.

For the rest of the half Nambucca threw everything they had at Coffs but were unable to get points on the board.

Coffs were to cross again before the period was finished and the half time score was 16-0 in favour of the Comets.

Things looked better for the Roosters in the early stages of the second half with penalties and errors going in their favour.

Roosters were able to capitalise on this and Jason Jarrett crossed the line under the post, with the converted try getting the Roosters in the chase, the score 16-6.

The Roosters chances slumped somewhat when a verbal exchange resulted in one of their players sent to the bin.

The battle of the big forwards continued until, with 15 minutes left in the game, a series of three line-breaks took the Roosters from one end of the field to the other and into striking distance.

No 11 Chris Thornton was able to pick up a try, but it wasn’t converted.

It only took Coffs three minutes to answer the Roosters and put more points on the board.

The Comet’s Paul Tighe continued to pile on the points and his converted try was to close out the game with the Coffs Comets coming out well on top 28-10 in what was a great game of Rugby League in hot and dry conditions at Grafton.

Under 18s

The eagerly anticipated under 18s minor semi final between the Nambucca Roosters and the Woolgoolga Seahorses did not disappoint.

Both teams played it out hard right from the kick-off and it took 16 minutes for the first points to appear when the Roosters Joe Margetts scored a try, converted by Toby Batten.

The momentum of the game was brought to a halt well into the half when an injury to a Woopi player resulted in a timely penalty for them.

In prime field position, Woopi’s Eligh Pledger was able to get across the line, not converted.

Nambucca looked to answer these points early, however, despite some great attacking play, their efforts ended with a disallowed try.

With under five minutes left in the half a 60 metre run by Jack Margetts resulted in another try for the Roosters and a conversion by Toby Batten, the half time score 12-4.

In the second half the battle for points was just as tough and it was more than 10 minutes before a gap in Woopi’s defence was spotted by Nambucca’s Euan Hill, who ran 70 metres to put Renzzo Sultan over the line and stretch the Roosters lead to 16-4.

Frustration began to get the better of some of the Woopi squad and an untimely send off added to their woes with Nambucca’s Euan Hill adding more points and Toby Batten converting, 22-4 now the score.

With 11 minutes left in the game a perfectly placed chip kick by Toby Batten across the field was picked up by Jack Margetts who scored again, not converted.

While Batten was placing the kick one of the Woopi players said to his squad, “Let’s enjoy the rest of the game fellas as we are about to play the last 10 minutes of junior football of our lives.”

These words seemed to lift the Seahorses and an impressive team effort saw Ethan Murden cross the line, converted, bringing the score to 26-10.

In response, with three minutes on the clock, Nate Pike would score a try for the Roosters, not converted and Whoopie would bow out of the 2023 season, going down to the Roosters, 30-10.

Both teams can look back on their season with pride as they have produced some great Rugby League and their development in senior players will be exciting to see next season.


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