Alert Axemen get first win
Strong start lays ground for triumph
AFTER starting their opening match of the season slower than the second coming, Orara Valley wasted no time hitting the scoreboard in its win over Macksville.
Four unanswered tries in the first half, including a double to winger Brendan Downtown, paved the way for the Axemen to collect their first two points of the season with a 30-8 victory.
Orara coach Col Speed admitted a faster start was on the agenda leading into the clash.
“That was our goal. We worked really hard on that in our two nights that we trained,” Speed said
“The best thing is that the players took ownership of that. They obviously got smashed on Tuesday with some different conditioning ball drills and it was relevant to the way they treated the ball the week before.”
Speed said the most pleasing aspects of the performance for him were the Axemen’s defence and the team discipline, particularly when they could have been excused for being distracted after Macksville’s Cameron Blair managed to somehow stay on the field after flooring Cody Berry with a coathanger.
So much for Group 2’s edict this year to have referees better protect players with a zero tolerance on head-high shots.
Meanwhile, if there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, call the Sawtell Panthers because they’re the Ghostbusters.
Sawtell inflicted the first defeat on the Grafton Ghosts since the 2016 grand final with a last-minute try from forward Lewis Cooper to win 24-22.
The Panthers were super impressive in the first half, heading into the sheds with a 20-12 lead, but tries to Mitch Gorman and Todd Cameron after a long arm wrestle put the reigning premier ahead.
ON THE BALL: Macksville’s Brad Southan is swamped by some of the hard-working Orara Valley defence.