Sea Eagles and Roosters play out epic local derby battle

Sea Eagles defenders Josh Bartlett, Zane Doolan and Joel Cooper swarm on Nambucca Rooster Jay Melrose.

COLD weather and intermittent showers welcomed players and fans to Macksville’s Alan Gillett Oval on Sunday as the Sea Eagles hosted the Nambucca Roosters.

The wet conditions made it slippery underfoot for players and somewhat uncomfortable for the faithful that turned up to cheer their teams on.

The Sea Eagles started the first grade game like a team with a laser focus on winning at home, attacking with an intensity that seemed unsustainable.

It took the home side only two minutes to get the ball across the line, getting around the Roosters left edge for a soft try in the corner by Sam Shields.

The converted try gave Macksville an early 6-0 lead.

The Roosters came close to responding five minutes later only to have the try disallowed, which became a theme throughout the first half.

Macksville seemed to be on top with points, penalties and possession early.

The visitors appeared largely unconcerned, however a succession of penalties for dangerous tackles did not help their game plan and returned the Sea Eagles back into prime field position.

Midway through the first half a break in play due to injury gave both teams time to catch their breath and regroup.

When play resumed Khan Jarrett seemed certain to score off a well placed kick from the centre, but the try was disallowed.

Minutes later a forward pass thwarted yet another crack at the line by the Roosters.

With penalties now going their way, some quick ball and short passes by the backs soon got Khan Jarrett a well deserved try going into the last ten minutes of the half.

The try was not converted, with Macksville still holding a 6-4 lead.

With two minutes left in the first half, Nambucca’s Jay Melrose found space on the right flank and went over to put the Roosters in front at half time, 8-6.

Three minutes into the second half, a solid hit up by Nambucca’s Willy Baker led to some great metre-making runs and a Dane Saunders try close to the sticks.

The try was converted by Tyronne Roberts-Davis, and the visitors began pulling away, 14-6.

The next ten minutes played out with the intensity of the first half and Macksville were able to pick holes in the Roosters defence.

The Sea Eagles’ Daniel Donavan soon crossed the line to close the gap to just four points.

Both teams were passing the ball in a manner that defied the wet conditions and, with seventeen minutes left to play, the quick hands paid dividends for the Roosters, getting Dane Saunders through a gap and setting up Jacks Margetts for a try.

The conversion by Roberts-Davis took the score to 20-10 in favour of the Roosters.

With five minutes left on the clock, Khan Jarrett put the game out of reach for Macksville by scoring a sensational team try.

Roberts-Davis nailed a difficult conversion from the sideline to extend the score to 26-10.

The minor grades also all produced great games of rugby league.

In the under 18s, despith being behind 12-4 at half-time, the home side chased down the Roosters’ early lead and took the game to a 16-16 cliff hanger with less than five minutes on the clock.

Nambucca’s Toby Batten stepped around the Sea Eagles defence and ran the ball 50 metres to score with two and a half minutes left in the game, converted his own try and the visitors took the win 22-16.

The women’s tackle was a tough game marred by several injuries.

Macksville, dominant in the first half, scored two unanswered tries in the first half, the score at 8-0.

Early in the second-half possession was in the Roosters favour however the home side’s great work in defence and tackling ability made it hard for Nambucca to capitalise on all that possession.

With five minutes left a Nambucca player was sent to the bin and it only took another two minutes for Macksville’s Marley Bateman to score a try and finish the game 10-0 to the Sea Eagles.

The reserve grade game coincided with more rain falling and Macksville quickly opened up their account, finding an overlap on the left to begin wracking up a hefty points tally.

With the Roosters looking at a 28-0 halftime score, frustration crept into the game.

Nambucca were only able to find the try line on one occasion and the home side won the game with a score line of 46-4.


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