Star centre Carr's third lightning strike for Nambucca win
SUPER centre Chris Carr was third time lucky when scoring Nambucca's winning try in today's 'golden point' minor semi final victory over Sawtell.
The Roosters won 32-28 after Carr raced over in the scoreboard corner, scene of three disasters for him earlier in the day.
Twice he'd been close to scoring in the same spot but was bundled across the touch line.
This time there was no mistake and it means the season is over for the Panthers while Nambucca is one win away from the third grand final appearance in as many years.
Sawtell made all the running and it wasn't until the 65th minute that the visitors took the lead after Kade Welsh caught the defence napping.
Right on the hooter, Nathan Davies levelled the scores and when Cameron Blair missed a difficult kick from the sideline, the match went into extra time, leading to the magic moment for the representative centre.
"It takes special plays to win in semi final football and it takes special players like Chris to do them," co-coach Bert Gray said.
"Fortunate enough for us we have those guys in our team.
"We had to be patient with penalties, possession and a sin-binning going against us.
"It's not over until the fat lady sings and I knew from the start my boys had the character needed to come through."
For a stand-out performer in the match, it was hard to go past Nambucca's workaholic forward Dion Marr.
He's not tall but his heart must take up three parts of his body mass and it would be interesting to connect a GPS to discover how far Marr travels during the course of a match.
Charging ahead over and over again, the courageous Rooster made sure his side was always heading in the direction of Sawtell's try line.
"Dion always goes straight and hard and when I asked him this morning to step up to front row, he couldn't put his hand up quick enough," Gray added.
"A contribution like that is unbelievable."
For the Panthers, co-coach Eddie Harrison turned in an awesome effort.
After last week's one-sided result in Macksville, the side came back gallantly and came within a whisker of winning.
Harrison's sidelined coaching partner Damian Irvine was visibly hurting but still managed to put the day in perspective.
"Pretty heartbreaking but we ran out of troops at the end," he said.
"After last week, it was a real gutsy effort.
"We lost Blake Keeping yesterday and of course, I'm out of action.
"Those who stepped up gave it everything and came ever so close."
NAMBUCCA HEADS ROOSTERS 32 (Chris Carr 2, Jarrod Saul, Matt Field, Kade Welsh, Aaron Clarke tries; Mick Ronan 4 goals) def SAWTELL PANTHERS 28 (Nathan Davies 2, Nick English 2, Warren Jarrett tries; Cameron Blair 4 goals).
Reserve grade: Sawtell d Coffs Harbour 31-24.
Under-18s: Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo d Sawtell 30-26.