Nambucca Heads narrowly defeated
UGLY but interesting, was the general feeling about Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo’s narrow 19-18 defeat of Nambucca Heads at ‘the graveyard’ yesterday.
Rarely in a first half of football has the Steeden been spilled so many times on the first or second tackle, interspersed with snatches of glorious attack.
Heading straight to the fringes, the Roosters were quickly 12-0 up and had three wonky passes stuck it could easily have been 30-0 and another week added to their unbeaten run.
But with the Magpies handling better following the resumption, the home side scored first and gradually the pendulum swung back their way.
Nambucca coach Garren Stig said the feeling of unease hit him when Bellingen posted their first points.
“We made enough breaks early to have the game sown up but the handling fell apart,” he said.
“Then we ran out of troops with just one bloke on the bench at one stage and it’s hard to get going again when it turns like that.
“Really, I don’t think we deserved to win ... the last few weeks we’ve stood and fought it out right to the end but this time, it was different.”
Referee Ray Pettit had a busy day maintaining discipline and sin-binned Bellingen’s David Hart and Nambucca’s Matt Field and Tyron Ussher-Kinnear.
The match turned quickly soon after Field was sent to cool his heels.
The Magpies crossed to level the scores, then again took advantage of numerical superiority.
Dan Russell’s 40/20 kick had them prowling the visitors line and once Brad Hart had slammed the ball in goal the majority of onlookers felt certain the curse hovering over visitors to Bellingen Park was about to strike again.
Winning coach Josh White told his boys at half time to forget about the messy opening period and to keep whacking away.
“We talked about where we went wrong and how to fix it,” he said.
“So in the end the effort was there and they stuck to the game plan long enough to get the two points.”
White agreed having Field missing at a crucial stage helped his cause but that was just a case of getting lucky at the right time.
“Other days you don’t even get close to the bounce of the ball coming your way – like against Port Macquarie – so we’ll take it,” he grinned.
“What goes around comes around and next week we may be behind the eight ball.”
Right across the park it was an afternoon when the honoured veterans of the competition shone.
In the winning side, Brad Hart had an electrifying match, leading from the front.
And for Nambucca, Warwick Jones, Geoff Batten, Mick Ronan, Dean Urquhart, Garry Jarrett and Paul Donovan have had their careers rejuvenated and are certain to pick up many more win bonuses before the final curtain descends.