Woolgoolga win by an inch
IF football is a “game of inches” it would be a revelation to know which particular unit of measurement carried Woolgoolga home 19-16 against Sawtell at Rex Hardaker Oval yesterday.
The match was a screamer with superb performances by every player on the field no matter the colours worn.
Sawtell hit the lead with five minutes remaining and looked to have finally broken the evil spell they’d been under in recent weeks.
But they dropped their guard momentarily and Tim McManus was across to reclaim the lead for the visitors and a Scott Street field goal in the dying seconds made their pain unbearable.
Panthers co-coach Rohan Loudon may have been grateful his side was out of its slump.
Only problem was the Seahorses pulled out of their own form lapse the week before.
“There were some positives, but right now we can’t execute,” he grimaced.
“It’s becoming a confidence thing for the side as we looked to a win today to lift us out of the slump and it’s extra hard knowing you’ve gone so close and still missed out.”
Winning mentor Steve Gooley admitted he had nervous moments when his men turned over a surplus of possession in the first half but was full of praise and admiration at the dogged fight back to form.
“When Sawtell hit the front at the end I started getting the feeling of Groundhog Day,” he grinned.
“But the boys showed a lot of ticker and I’m proud of them for the effort as I thought we were the better side ... but that doesn’t make sure you win.
“Holding onto the ball much better was one of the factors that got us home.”
With the weekend outcomes leaving the Sharks and Mustangs book-ending the ladder and seven sides in the middle going hammer and tongs for limited finals berths, Gooley believes the Seahorses can still make the cut.
“With a bit of self-belief we can win those two matches on the way to the bye and take it from there,” he predicted.
As for Loudon, next Sunday may make or break Sawtell’s premiership defence.
“Orara is the one we must win, no question,” he said.