Seahorses show fighting qualities


IT'S finished a sweet week for Woolgooga's mercurial halfback, Arthur Murray.

A new baby daughter with partner Melissa to start proceedings and a starring role in the Sea Horses 28-26 gazumping of competition heavyweights Sawtell yesterday at the Sports Reserve, for dessert.

"Things are going pretty well," Murray said.

"Both girls are doing fine and that win caps things off nicely."

The Panthers struck trouble from the kick-off.

A try to Woopi's Lee Borland in the opening seconds started the clock ticking on 80 minutes of tension with the lead changing seven times, referee Nathan Grace whistling up a string of contentious calls, a cliffhanger finish and an eventual home town win as good as any giantkilling exhibition you would see.

Amongst the disputed decisions was a disallowed Murray field goal attempt in the dying stages but if it had him feeling despondent it wasn't showing.

"Actually, I only took the shot to kill time," Murray joked.

"I'm sure it went over but who cares if it wasn't given.

"We still had a day to remember."

The combination between Murray and captain-coach John Cross carried the day.

"Yes, Crossy has done fairly well as a player since he joined us,"Murray said with a half grin and a touch of irony.

Losing powerhouse prop Matt Plater in the early stages saw a drop in Sawtell's confidence level from which they could't recover.

Club president Kerry Hales said the team was flat and agreed Plater's injury and the absence of captain-coach Craig Wallace was proving a psychological disadvantage to the Panthers.

"These things have to be overcome," Hales said.

"You still have to step up to the plate and dig in when things get tough,"

But Hales foreshadowed some good news on the Wallace situation.

"Latest advice is Craig could be back in 10 weeks, just in time for the semi finals."

The contribution by referee Nathan Grace had officials from both clubs stony-faced yet wisely, none were prepared to be quoted 'on the record' as to their feelings.

But supporters in both camps were not as reserved, keeping up a constant barrage of advice to the man with the whistle from beginning to end.

WOOLGOOLGA 28 (Arthur Murray 2, Lee Borland, Brad Vines, Matt Smith tries; Arthur Murray 4 goals) d SAWTELL 26 (Damian Irvine 2, Nathan Davies 2, Bobby Kennedy tries; Adam Loudon 2, Nathan Davies goals).

Reserve grade: Sawtell d Woolgoolga 38-12. Under 18s: Sawtell d Wooolgoolga 28-16.

Scrums: Woolgoolga 6-5. Penalties: 6-all. Errors: Sawtell 11, Woolgoolga 5.

Best players: John Cross, Arthur Murray, Brad Vines (Woolgoolga); Scott Moody, Kris Watson, Adam Watson (Sawtell).

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