Panthers take it to the Roosters in Round 6 of Group 2 competition

The standard of skills is increasing significantly in all teams playing in the Group 2 Women’s Tackle competition. The Sawtell girls defeated the Nambucca Roosters 36-6.

CORONATION Park at Nambucca Heads played host to a large crowd of very vocal rugby league fans on Sunday to witness one of the most exciting games of first grade football you are ever likely to see.

The home side came up with a win 36 to 28, however the visiting Sawtell Panthers were never out of the contest, with both sides putting in a solid 80 minutes of top shelf football.

Being able to complete sets to put themselves into good field position early saw the Roosters open their account first, with Willy Baker scoring in the corner off a Tyronne Roberts-Davis grubber kick, however the try was not converted.

It was nearly ten more minutes of rapid attacking play and try-saving defence from both sides before pressure on the Panthers backs close to the line saw Logan Jones cross again for the home side, converted this time by Roberts-Davis, taking the lead to 10-0.

The score board deceptively gave the impression of a one-sided contest after a blistering 50 metre run along the sideline by Nambucca’s Jay Melrose got him over in the corner and with Tyronne’s boot doing its best, the Roosters were now at 16-0 with 25 minutes still left to play in the first half.

It only took the Panthers five minutes to answer when quick hands in attack put Jake Thornton over.

With Cory Willis’s conversion, the Panthers began to chase the Roosters down.

The confidence gained from the converted try and penalties now going their way, the committed attack from the visitors kept the Roosters under pressure and defending close to the line, breaking through for more points thirteen minutes from half time.

With the score now at 16-12, the crowd reacted accordingly and both teams knew a win was still up for grabs.

The home side gave up some penalties cheaply, enabling Sawtell to make serious metres and put Nambucca back against their line, eventually getting Tom Sanders over in the left corner.

The try was not converted and the game was tied up 16-16 with seven minutes remaining in the first half.

The deadlock was broken on the back of some uncharacteristically sloppy ball handling by the Panthers when receiving a Roosters kick.

Brody Simon busted through for a try, converted by Roberts-Davis, taking it to 22-16 with three minutes left in the half.

One minute before the end of the first half a stunning line-break by Nambucca’s Dane Saunders resulted in a great individual try, not converted, and the teams headed for the sheds with the Roosters in front, 26 -16.

With only two minutes gone in the second half a disciplined passage of attacking play by the Roosters saw Dane Saunders cross the line for his second try of the day, not converted.

The game now settled into a rhythm for the next ten minutes, with both sides getting close to their try lines but unable to break through until Sawtell fullback Jake Thornton launched the Panthers’ fightback with a converted try, the score now 30-22.

The visitors were able to thwart a number of attacks near the line by the Roosters and it appeared the pendulum was swinging their way when their tenacity was rewarded with another try under the post by Robert Brilley, converted, and the Roosters under real pressure with eleven minutes left in the game and the score at 30-28.

For the next five minutes it was anyone’s game until Nambucca’s Tyreece Sines evaded Panther’s defence and scored, converted by Roberts-Davis.

Despite both teams still going at it hard, the clock ran down to end in a 36-28 result.

In the minor grades Sawtell had more success, winning the Under 18s clash 12-10 in a top game of spirited footy.

The Women’s Tackle also went Sawtell’s way with the score 36-6 and both teams showing great improvements in all aspects of their game.

The reserve grade game was an absolute thriller however the Panthers ran away with it in the end for a 30-18 win.


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