Top teams make the same point
By MITCHELL DALE
THIS is what you call pressure.
There's 30 seconds remaining, your side is down by two points when they receive a penalty 20m out, 10m to the left of the posts.
The captain signals to the sticks and everyone looks straight at you.
The club's number one goal kicker is off the field and you're the back-up.
As you line up the kick, the sounds of the home crowd booing encompasses the field.
Welcome to the world of Adam Loudon at around 4.30pm yesterday.
But the 23-year-old rose to the occasion, slotting the goal to lock the scores at 36-all at Allan Gillett Oval.
Loudon, who arrived at Sawtell from Darlington Point over the off-season, admitted he was a nervous bloke as he lined up the penalty shot.
"I was just hoping I would kick the bloody thing," Loudon said after the match.
"But when the penalty was given I wanted to go for the two points.
"It was pretty disappointing not to win after we were up by that much though."
Incredibly, the Panthers led 34-16 with 10 minutes remaining before Macksville, in typical fashion, crossed for four tries in nine minutes to snatch the lead.
They were then ruled to have knocked on from the kick-off, a decision disputed by the Sea Eagles with halfback Nev Donovan conceding the penalty before being sin-binned for dissent.
"I was very disappointed with the (knock on) decision, but the refs and touchies can't see everything," Macksville captain-coach Paul Davis said.
"If it was a knock on, our players would have given themselves up."
But Davis was still happy to come away with one competition point, despite scoring eight tries to six.
"It was a big effort to come back the way we did," he said.
"To have three competition points from two games against quality sides like Sawtell and Nambucca is good."
Wallace could only shake his head at the one point that got away.
"We should have got the two points, mate," Wallace said.
"We played well in patches, but we just did some silly things.
"They scored four tries from our mistakes in our 40m."
With Wallace and North Coast centre Nathan Davies both missing most of the match with knee injuries, the captain-coach was happy with the effort of the side's younger players.
"A couple of the young blokes really stood up for us," he said.
"To get the result with 15 blokes was a good effort.
"The thing is, one point is one point, it could be very important come semi-finals time."
MACKSVILLE SEA EAGLES 36 (Chris Morecombe 3, Mitch Walker 2, Nev Donovan, Tom Aitken, Cameron Blair tries; Donovan, Blair goals) drew with SAWTELL PANTHERS 36 (Kris Watson 2, Jim McWilliams, Bobby Kennedy, Damon McDonald, Nathan Townsend tries; Nathan Davies 2, Adam Loudon 4 goals).
Penalties: Sawtell 10-5.
Best players: Bobby Kennedy, Kris Watson, Matt Plater, Scott Moodie (Sawtell); Chris Morecombe, Max McGovern, Chris Piper, Mitch Walker (Macksville).
Reserve grade: Sawtell d Macksville 36-4.
Under 18s: Sawtell d Macksville 40-16.