Goal kicker convinced captain he'd boot Marlins to victory
TRAILING by two points with only a couple of minutes remaining in the MNC Rugby grand final and the referee awards you a penalty 43 metres out from goal. What do you do?
For SCU Marlins captain Morgan McDonough his decision was made easier by the immediate voice of confidence from Locky Miller.
"He (Miller) yelled at me he said 'Morgan I've got this 100 per cent'," McDonough said.
"I was still nervous but it couldn't have been a better kick, it was right over the black dot."
Leading by a point through the final agonising moments of the match against Hastings Valley, the Marlins held on to cap a perfect day for the club which also won the under-14s, under-16s and under-18s premierships.
When the referee blew the final whistle with the Marlins leading 36-35, it initiated scenes of jubilation with the club's supporters running on to Oxley Oval to celebrate the amazing victory.
McDonough said the post-match celebrations were just as tough, if not more so, than the game itself.
"It was a wall of supporters. I thought we had enough in the scrums then the supporters came on," he said.
"I got knocked to the ground three times the pack of supporters was that big."
It was a result full of character considering midway through the second half Hastings Valley, chasing a fourth consecutive title, led 28-12.
The Marlins refused to lie down and incredibly were in front by five points only 10 minutes later after a scoring spree that netted three converted tries.
Miller started the burst with a chip and chase try before winger Jack Churchwell scored in the corner then the Breakers took the lead when Dave Nicol intercepted a Vikings pass to score a runaway try.
There was still a couple of dramatic twists left in this grand final tale though.
The Vikings regained the lead with less than five minutes of time left on the clock through a penalty try.
Trailing by two points with time quickly running out it looked a case of so close but so far away for the Marlins.
That was until the referee's whistled intervened yet again and Miller put his hand up to create club history and boot the Marlins toward their first premiership.
The captain said it was unbelievable feeling to see so may years of hard work come to fruition.
The Marlins re-entered first grade for the 2012 season after entering a reserve grade side in 2010 and an under-19 side in 2011.
The days of being the MNC Rugby minnow are over and McDonough admits even now it's still hard to believe the Marlins are sitting at the top of the tree.
"We've copped some floggings for so many years so this is an amazing turnaround," he said. "I was in shock when the ref blew the whistle. I'm still sort of numb that it happened."
MNC RUGBY GRAND FINALS
First grade: SCU Marlins def Hastings Valley 36-35
Reserve grade: Hastings Valley def Grafton 41-0
Under-18s: SCU Marlins def Coffs Snappers 24-5
Under-16s: SCU Marlins def Hastings Valley 33-0
Under-14s: SCU Marlins def Kempsey 26-13
Womens: Port Pirates def Wauchope 15-0