Panthers too strong for Axemen
IT WAS at times messy but Sawtell have done enough to secure first round points with a 38-6 victory against Orara Valley.
Three early first half tries helped lay the platform for the Panthers in front of a boisterous crowd at Rex Hardaker Oval.
A persistent Axemen side refused to quit through the entire 80 minutes however they were unable to capitilise on their limited opportunities.
A heavy track and early round jitters conspired against both teams throughout the game with plenty of errors and dropped ball.
Panthers co-coach Eddie Harrison was happy to be taking home the two points from the match but was critical of his side's performance.
"To score as many points as we did despite how scrappy we were was pleasing but it goes to show we still have a long way to go," Harrison said.
"It was just a pass mark from me but you don't win grand finals at this time of year.
"There are still plenty of positives for us but we also know the performance will need to improve each week."
Orara gave the home side a minor scare at the start of the second half.
Despite trailing 18-0, the Axemen crossed over early on through Jarrod Few and continued to threaten the Sawtell defence.
However handling errors killed all the momentum and Sawtell crossed over for three more four pointers to ice the game.
"To score so many points despite playing poorly is a good sign," Harrison said.
"We were unlucky not to have scored more but once again our handling let us down.
"It was also good to see Nathan Davies score two tries today in what was his 150th game for the Club."
Orara co coach Chris Shears looked to the positives despite the loss.
"We gave Sawtell too much ball in the first half and had to use all our gas defending," Shears said.
"The second half was much more positive and we managed to do a lot of things we have been working on training.
"The week and a half leading into the match was the first time we had trained together as a team so things are sure to come together quickly."
SAWTELL 38 (J Lewis 2 N Davies 2 W Jarrett, J Fogarty, D Quinn tries D Russell 5 goals.) bt ORARA VALLEY 6 (Ja Few tries Jo Few Goals)
Referee: Ray Pettit
At Rex Hardaker Oval.