THE rise and rise of Nambucca Heads continued at Hastings Regional Stadium continued today when the Roosters handed out a 46-14 drubbing to Port Macquarie Sharks.
Always seen as a likely front-runner, the side proved its quality by giving the former competition heavyweights a lesson in sustained application once an early 8-0 deficit was overcome.
"We took a little bit of time to get underway but the Port try was a wakeup call and the boys hit back with three quick tries leading into the break," winning coach Garren Stig said.
"Once we got a bit of ball to play with and created field position, I was always confident we would go on and win."
The Roosters really turned on the gas in the second half with their hungry forward pack running riot.
Big prop forward Aaron Clarke got through a mountain of work and was rewarded with two tries and the unabashed praise of Sharks' football manager Les Murphy.
"He's a real goer, very athletic and cut us right up," he said.
"We weren't in the race today and our problem now is being able to overcome losing good players like Matt Blake, Jeremy Lang and Ben Cudmore to work in the mines.
"All three are Group players and you can't replace that sort of talent overnight."
Stig agreed his pack had dominated and expected fireworks after watching the Sharks in action against Coffs Harbour on Good Friday.
"I knew it could be torrid but we worked their forwards over which is a good sign for the weeks ahead," he said.
"On the other side of the card was a great effort from some of the kids who I gave a run to.
"Jake Hoban and Silas Robbins were in Wingham to play for East Coast Dolphins in the Under-18 CRL championships but made it back to Port in time for the match.
"The boys went really well and it's going to be great for their confidence."
NAMBUCCA HEADS ROOSTERS 46 (A Budd 2 D Buchanan 2 A Clarke 2 J Edwards J Hoban tries M Ronan 6 C Blair goals) bt PORT MACQUARIE SHARKS 14 (T Sheaves J Asher D Vale tries O Monaghan goal).
At Hastings Regional Stadium, Port Macquarie.
Referee: Nathan Grace.
Reserve grade: Port Macquarie 32 bt Nambucca Heads 26.
Under 18s: Port Macquarie received a forfeit from Nambucca Heads.