'Stangs and Panthers turn on gas
ANOTHER fine win by Macleay Valley sets up a tasty meeting with Woolgoolga in next weekend's first round of Group 2 semi finals.
In this weekend's only Sunday fixture the Mustangs downed Sawtell 42-32 in an above average match.
It means the Panthers will be at home next Saturday at Rex Hardaker Oval hosting Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo in a sudden death showdown while Macleay travel north to Woolgoolga Sports Reserve.
The winner of that contest plays Nambucca Heads for a saloon passage into the grand final.
But back to today's blockbuster at Verge Street which most who took part are calling the best match of the season.
Macleay Valley spokesman Brad Rieck said his side "pinged the lids' and racked up an early 16-0 lead, almost before the Panthers knew the game was underway.
"That's where we backed off and Sawtell turned on the gas," he said.
"They came back to take the lead at the break and we looked under a bit of pressure.
"But with a lot more possession in the second half and the breaks coming our way, the team kicked on.
"It was a fantastic game, both teams were brilliant and I hope we get another chance to play them in the finals."
Slick work by Macleay's attacking backs saw winger Nathan Davies collect a hat trick but the rotation of the masterful threesome in the halves - Mal Webster, Ant Cowan and Shaye Moran - kept everybody enthralled.
Sawtell pivot Troy Robinson also collected a treble and his in-form combination with Danny Russell is one of the major keys to the play-offs puzzle.
Wins in all grades sealed the club championship for Macleay Valley, only the third in the club's history.
MACLEAY VALLEY MUSTANGS 42 (N Davis 3 M Webster 2 S Moran S Walker S Howe tries A Cowan 5 goals) bt SAWTELL PANTHERS 32 (T Robinson 3 N Davies N English B Hart tries D Russell 2 N Davies T Robinson goals)
At Verge Street Stadium, West Kempsey
Referee: Nathan Grace
Reserve grade: Macleay Valley bt Sawtell 48-22
Under 18s: Macleay Valley bt Sawtell 34-10
Group 2 Play-offs week one
Minor preliminary semi at Rex Hardaker Oval, Toormina (12 noon start)
First - Sawtell v Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo
Reserve - Macksville v Port Macquarie
Under 18s - Coffs Harbour v Port Macquarie
Major preliminary semi at Woolgoolga Sports Reserve (11.30am start)
First - Woolgoolga v Macleay Valley
Reserve - Woolgoolga v Sawtell
Under 18s - Macksville v Nambucca Heads.