THE MACKSVILLE High School Swampies Under 16s boys rugby union sevens team have been hailed as one of the finest of all time after placing fourth in the State finals in Sydney.
In a strange echo of the Crescent Head 7s win, the boys lost their first game in the Mid North Coast qualifying round but went on to claim the local crown, so qualifying for the State finals.
The play-offs saw the top 12 schools in the State, public and private, contest in boys and girls in Under 16s and Open divisions.
Macksville played Nowra Anglican College in the first pool game, triumphing 19-12 with Blake Brunsdon scoring twice. All the boys played well and gained confidence that they could compete at such a high level.
The next game was against old foes Farrer Agricultural College from Tamworth. After a pre-game chat from the coach about the importance of scoring first, the boys made a mistake from the kick off with Farrer crossing inside 30 seconds. Farrer scored again to go 10-nil up but from then on it was all Macksville with the boys playing scintillating rugby to win 35-10.
Although everyone played well, Ulysses ‘game plan’ Roberts was exceptional as was debutant Logan ‘game plan 2’ Jones.
The third game was against overall carnival victors and State title holders Westfield Sports High. Coming off a draw with Nowra, the Westfield team which included three NSW reps, came out on fire to go to a 22-nil lead at half time, playing exceptional rugby. The Swampies came back to win the second half but the damage had been done. Final score 27-10.
Realising they had to beat St John’s College Woodlawn from Lismore to progress to the semis, the boys put the loss behind them to refocus and prepare for the last pool game.
The boys started strongly against Woodlawn, scoring first for the first time all day. In a cohesive and thoroughly entertaining effort, the Swampies went on to beat St John’s 26-nil and move into the third versus fourth playoff. The major final was between Westfield and The Hills Sports High School, with Westfield taking the honours.
In the 3 v 4 semi, Swampies were pitted against Hunter Sports High School. Possibly content with gaining a place on the Wall of Fame (for making a State semi or above), the boys started off with their worst performance of the day. Hunter were ruthless and skilled and went out to a 14-nil lead. Macksville rallied in the second half to score three tries but went down 21-17.
All in all it was a brilliant performance from a great bunch of kids who displayed team work, spirit and pride in their school and community.