Sport

Woolgoolga survive torrid clash

pivot Troy Robinson crashes over the try line beneath a swarm of Woolgoolga defenders
pivot Troy Robinson crashes over the try line beneath a swarm of Woolgoolga defenders Leigh Jensen

PLAYERS from both teams won't need much rocking to put them to sleep tonight following Woolgoolga's 29-20 win over Sawtell at Rex Hardaker Oval.

A tough, desperate slog from start to finish, the game featured plenty of torrid forward engagements which to the credit of all participants rarely threatened to turn into open warfare.

Yes, there were a couple of flare-ups and one hit on Sawtell halfback Danny Russell deserved stronger action than a penalty but the sheer physicality was reminiscent of a semi final match-up.

Add in patches of brilliant attacking play from both teams and only the toughest markers wouldn't be happy with the fare on offer.

Sawtell lost simply because they allowed Woolgoolga to bounce out of the traps to lead 18-0 by the break.

Once ends were changed they poured on the pressure to race in three tries off the bat and at one stage trailed by a mere two points with time up their sleeves.

Unfortunately, critical lapses in concentration let them down at vital stages.

There were some suggestions that the slow pace from the start didn't suit the Panthers who may have preferred a faster game but co-coach Damian Irvine didn't agree.

"Woopi have a big pack and the overnight rain on the ground didn't help us but we still went okay," he said.

"Three missed opportunities or three mistakes allowed them to score their tries and I always felt we were not playing all that bad."

Joe Ravueta scored two passes after Wil Fernando regathered a chip kick that caught the home side's fringe defence unawares.

Then, Sukhpal Mahli should have scored against his old club but juggled the ball over the line ... and didn't his former "fans" howl with delight.

More missed tackles by Sawtell close to the line allowed the visitors to cross twice but if the Seahorses had been cold and clinical in the first session, their concentration turned decidedly pedestrian upon returning to the field.

One probable reason for that was the physical toll taken on the players.

It was noticed that seven interchanges had already been made, compared to only three by the Panthers

Coach Greg Shuttleworth said dropping momentum neither surprised him nor caused too much angst.

"After last week we needed to find an extra 10 per cent - which we did - and I wanted patience and discipline - which I got," he said.

"I think we should have been more than 18 up at half time but having said that, another problem that's continuing is we didn't defend penalties."

Referee Kirk Taylor penalised Woolgoolga 4-0 in the second half and certain resentments that stirred up in the crowd may have rubbed off on players who heard the howling over their shoulders.

"I'm not saying the bloke in the middle was right or wrong but Sawtell scored all four tries after penalties.

"We let them back into the game and almost contributed to our own downfall which is something else we have to address."

Woolgoolga botched two tries with the gates open wide and Sawtell slaughtered one golden opportunity after a momentary lapse in concentration.

Fernando sealed the win with another chip-and-chase near the end when he caught sole defender Troy Robinson isolated and going in the opposite direction over in the scoreboard corner and then rubbed in salt with a final drop goal.

"We're still a work in progress, will have a talk about today and then try to improve for next week," Shuttleworth added.

In many cases Sawtell's wet sail second half would have claimed an unlikely victory and co-coach Irvine wasn't too badly disappointed.

"The good attitude came back today and if we'd held the ball in the second half we could have won the game," he said.

WOOLGOOLGA SEAHORSES 29 (L Munro 2 J Ravueta M Grayson W Fernando tries W Fernando 4 goals W Fernando field goal) bt SAWTELL PANTHERS 20 (T Robinson B Dulin E Harrison C Cook tries D Russell 2 goals).

Scrums: 9-all

Penalties: Sawtell 7-3

Errors: Woolgoolga 11, Sawtell 8

At Rex Hardaker Oval, Toormina

Referee: Kirk Taylor

Reserve grade: Woolgoolga 23 bt Sawtell 8.

Under 18s: Sawtell bye.



Progress on proposed tower delayed

NO TOWER: Toni Fuller and Phillip White are among those leading the fight against a proposed Telstra phone tower at the Jetty Oval.

Progress on proposed tower delayed

Foursome reckons it's just the ticket

STANDING: Ray Smith, Cr Keith Rhoades, George Cecato and Martin Wells will contest the Coffs Harbour City Council election on the ticket Coffs Coast First.

First ticket announced for the Coffs Harbour City Council election

Bello Turtle Festival on soon

TURTLE TIME: The Bellingen Turtle Festival is fast approaching.

Bello Turtle Festival on soon

Latest deals and offers

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

A home rich in history looking for a new owner

HISTORY: The circa 1920s home is being sold for the first time in 90 years.

Circa 1920s home being sold for the first time in 90 years