South Grafton lucky to steer off Macksville in Group 2 U18s semi-final

THE MACKSVILLE Sea Eagles Under 18s bowed out of the Tooheys New Group 2 rugby league semi-final series on Saturday at Sawtell when they went down to the South Grafton Rebels, 32-24.

After being beaten by the Rebels the week before in the final competition round the Eagles went in to this game as underdogs, but in the early stages they clearly belied that name.

Beau Langford finished off a great passing movement by crossing in the corner in the early stages of the game and Mitch Morrison converted from the sideline to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

Macksville went further ahead soon after when Jayden Clements finished off a great attacking set and Morrison again converted to give the Eagles a 12-0 lead.

The Eagles looked set to dominate but the Rebels struck back with a converted try before Dylan Cartwright took the ball 20 metres from the line and charged through the Rebels' defence to score a great individual try.

Morrison's conversion saw the Eagles lead 18-6 but late in the half the Rebels crossed for a second try.

The opening stages of the second half saw the Rebels capitalise on Macksville's errors to run in three tries to take a 28-18 lead. Zane Doolan scored a well deserved try and Morrison converted it to cut the deficit to 28-24, but the Rebels scored on the bell to get the result.