Panthers in charge
VETERAN players hogged the spotlight when Sawtell trounced Orara Valley 44-20 at Coramba Coliseum yesterday.
Centre Nathan Davies was superb in every facet of the game, co-coach Ryan Prevett revelled in his return to the pack and winger Mark Pledger staged an enthralling personal duel with opposite number Nathan Hardy before taking a clear points decision over his talented young rival.
“In recent weeks we’ve tended to go one-out too much, but once we got some second-phase play happening today it all started to click,” Prevett said.
Similar completion rates in the opening period gave the impression the ball game was still open, but it didn’t take the Panthers long to seize command when Davies went across for the first of his double soon after the restart.
“It was important to put that first one on them as I felt Orara had used up a lot at the start and would find it hard to keep going,” Prevett remarked.
Orara coach Darryl Fisher agreed with that assertion, revealing that while his side only trailed by four points, there wasn’t much gas left in the tank.
“I sensed they were only just hanging in for those last seconds leading up to the break and the energy was gone by the time we came back out,” he said.
“Once fatigue crept in there was no answer and when Sawtell grab control it’s very hard to shift it away from them.
“The first half was our opportunity to put a dent in them and by not taking it ... or not having the energy to take it more likely ... we sealed our fate.”
Orara still had their moments, but after making easy metres off the back of tricky fullback Clark Webb, too often lapsed into taking risks they didn’t need to.
And while the older heads carried the day, Prevett is just as enthused by the emerging pack of Panther cubs.
“Tim Davis had a solid debut at halfback and in another season, watch out for youngsters like Gareth Evans and Greg Connell,” he said proudly.
“This has been a good day to boost morale and set a platform for the next few weeks.”