Irvine try lifts 'horrible' day
THE afternoon was wet and miserable and the standard of play was generally uninspiring but in the 72nd minute yesterday the Sawtell fans at Rex Hardaker Oval erupted into a cacophony of sound for their hero.
Damian Irvine, who was celebrating playing more than 200 first grade games, raced down the left-hand side to score a try right in front of the faithful who frequent the bar in the south-eastern corner of the ground.
Supporters stood to applaud the try they had all hoped would arrive.
It was a great moment for the Panthers but despite winning their grand final replay against Macksville 34-4, coach Rohan Loudon admitted that it was one of the few highlights of the day.
“It was horrible,” Loudon said of the match.
Both the Panthers and Sea Eagles completed less than 50 per cent of their sets and there was probably more time spent setting scrums than any other activity throughout the contest.
But Loudon sees a good side to the untidy performance.
“The pleasing thing is that we still get a scoreline of 34-4 and don’t play that well,” he said. “There’s plenty of improvement but I think we might have crucified three or four tries in the first half which didn’t help.
“Had we scored those it might have made it a bit more positive in the second half.”
Sawtell’s job was made a whole lot easier by the fact Macksville were down a man for most of the second half due to players getting sin-binned and at one stage the Sea Eagles were down to 11 men after Henry Dunn was told by the referee to take an early shower.
Combine this with being on the wrong side of a 9-3 penalty count and it leads to the conclusion that Macksville are an undisciplined outfit.
Coach Grant Coleman, who was missing through injury, denies that claim.
“I don’t think we are but it seems to happen every week,” Coleman said.
“We’ll just have to come back next week and try and sort it out again.”