Club stalwart Dean Urquhart was honoured by Roosters supporters yesterday.
Club stalwart Dean Urquhart was honoured by Roosters supporters yesterday. BRUCE THOMAS

Roosters in semi-final

IT’S been a long 10-year wait but finally Nambucca Heads will return to semi-final football.

Not since the Roosters lost the 2000 grand final to Port Macquarie has the club played semi-final football but the finals drought was righted yesterday with a withering burst in the second half handing the tri-colours 28 unanswered points to overcome Orara Valley 28-12.

Now Nambucca Heads face neighbouring Macksville on Saturday in the Minor Preliminary semi-final.

“I’ve just wanted these guys to make the semis,” a pleased Nambucca Heads coach Garren Stig said after the game.

“Not for me, not for the club but just for the few blokes that probably won’t be around next year.”

Stig said that the team’s failure to score points in the first half was as much to do with their own errors of judgement as it was due to Orara Valley’s play.

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves in the first half with a lot of dropped ball, a lot of penalties and we were getting sucked into a slow game,” he said.

“All Orara wanted to do was play around the ruck really slow and we were getting sucked into it.

“At half time we spoke about quick play the balls to dummy half and kicking early with the breeze and it just fell into place.”

It was a 40-20 kick early in the second half by Garry Jarrett that set the Roosters alight and from that point on Orara Valley hardly had possession.

“That first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half just killed us,” Orara Valley coach Darryl Fisher lamented.

“We had no ball and they had a lot of momentum and it was hard to come back from it.”

The Axemen took to the field playing youngsters in the place of the injured Nathan Hardy and Chris Shears but that was not the reason for the loss. In fact the new players handled themselves well and proved there is a future at Coramba.

Fact was, once the Roosters got a sniff of a rare finals position in their nostrils, the tri-colours were never going to beaten.



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