Seahorses hear messages through their great vines
By GREG WHITE
MACKSVILLE suffered a bad attack of the 'rep game blues' before falling 32-20 to the big guns of Woolgoolga at the Sports Reserve yesterday. With seven players to the Seahorses' two backing up from the previous day's Group 2 v Group 3 match at Wingham, the premiers took an early 14-0 lead before getting the staggers and eventually being swamped by the home side. Paul Davis, club and group coach, tried to put a humorous spin on his predicament. "I should have given Drew Vines more time on the field yesterday to tire him out," he said of the Woolgoolga star. "He ended up doing terrible damage to us today." Vines sure did, but not just in ways his rep coach witnessed. "When we came in at half time, Drew told everybody not to be overawed by Macksville's reputation," Woolgoolga captain coach John Cross revealed. "Macksville are a fantastic team but they're not supermen. "Once we stopped being intimidated by their reputations we started to get our act together." Woopi's countless handling mistakes in the opening exchanges were punished by the Eagles but they did struggle to get a jump ahead in their usual spectacular fashion. Five minutes before the break the gas appeared to be almost drained. "All we needed to do was clean up our act and knuckle down," Cross said. "We got a bit of luck when Macksville copped some tough calls. "And I don't think the stop-start stuff helped them either." Matt Grayson opened the scoring for the Seahorses within minutes of the resumption, the first of 32 unanswered points till the Eagles managed to cross for a final consolation touchdown. "We can't blame the ref," Davis said graciously despite Gary Edwards and Cameron Blair being sin-binned by referee Kurt Taylor. "We made mistakes and so did Woolgoolga but they were able to recover better than we could." John Cross is refusing to get carried away or to write off the Group champions. "When we can boast four straight premierships, that's when we can put our feet up," he said. "My boys are still learning and it may even take a couple of years to get to the top. It's not enough to win one game against a respected team, you must do it again and again." WOOLGOOLGA SEAHORSES 32 (Drew Vines 2, Matt Grayson, Dane Henderson-Smith, Ross Hunter, Arthur Murray tries; Murray 4 goals) def MACKSVILLE SEA EAGLES 20 (Dean Buchanan, Gary Edwards, David Pickvance, Cameron Blair tries; Blair 2 goals) Scrums: Macksville 13-4 Penalties: Woolgoolga 13-6 Errors: Macksville 11, Woolgoolga 9 Best Players: Drew Vines, Mick Jeffrey, Arthur Murray (Woolgoolga) - Troy Grace, David Pickvance, Jason Daley (Macksville) Reserve Grade: Woolgoolga 26 d Macksville 0. Under-18: Woolgoolga 16 d Macksville 14
SUPPORTER'S SNAPSHOT "Hey, it's fantastic." - Angela Keighran (Woolgoolga) "We couldn't go with them in the second half but why can't that ref let the game flow?" - Mick McPherson (Macksville)
IMPACT POINT The 35th minute of the match. Leading 14-nil and with half time in their sights, Macksville's rep players quite simply, succumbed to the heavy schedule and ran out of puff. The Seahorses after stumbling and fumbling early cleaned up their act and for the next 40 minutes turned the premiers inside out with 32 unanswered points.