MACKSVILLE leap-frogged Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo into third spot on the VB Gold Group 2 ladder with yesterday’s 46-30 victory at Allen Gillett Oval.
What started out as a regulation catch-up game entered a state of crisis in the 27th minute when Sea Eagles captain-coach Grant Coleman was dismissed by referee Vasco Baston following an alleged high tackle on rival forward Jude Erskine.
And the drama continued three minutes into the second half when Bellingen’s most potent player, Bert Gray, also received his marching orders after a similar allegation.
Boss Magpie Josh White was fuming at full time after watching another winnable game go slip, sliding away.
“When Grant was sent off his boys lifted in adversity,” White said through clenched lips.
“For my blokes it was curtains, they didn’t adapt and couldn’t kick on.
“We hadn’t played well but we were still in the game and building momentum.
“But it ended right there.”
Coach Coleman was less than pleased about his dismissal but found picking up two points was some compensation.
One major worry was watching the side lose concentration whenever they reached an advantageous position.
“Gotta do those tough sets, gotta put the head down and push on,” he said.
“We go off the boil instead of grinding away, putting the kick down the other end and putting on the pressure.
“Every time we do that we rack up points but keeping the mind on the job, that’s another thing altogether.”
Bellingen ran in the first two tries, which caused the home side to erupt in a flurry of scoring.
The end of Coleman’s afternoon on the field saw them cross again to lead by eight points at the break and while Bellingen kept coming back, being forced to play catch-up and a growing list of casualties sealed their fate.
“We tried to play Harlem Globetrotter-style football, we tried being Macksville copies and it doesn’t work,” White growled. “Our style is to grind away in defence and let the scoring look after itself.
“But again, we fell into the trap of pretending we’re them which again got us beaten.”