Macksville Sea Eagles host their first 'Old Boys' reunion

Macksville's 1979 first grade premiers with their spoils
Macksville's 1979 first grade premiers with their spoils

Get ready Macksville.

Because this weekend the old flock is swooping back into town for a catch-up.

Chris 'Macca' MacDonald has organised the 'Old Boys' reunion weekend after it was noted the rugby league tradition was missing from the Macksville club's calendar.

Up to 100 past players are expected to make their return to the Valley for Friday night drinks at Bonsers and then edge the sidelines of the weekend's matches against the Grafton Ghosts.

After a close miss against Sawtell, the first grade Sea Eagles need the win against the second-placed Ghosts for a shot at the finals.

With a huge home crowd cheering them on, Macksville could very well come away with the goods.

"We'll all be there watching and talking a lot of rubbish probably," Macca said.

It's a good year to kick things off; It's been 40 years since the 1979 first grade Sea Eagles took out their premiership title, and 30 years since the 1989 U18s claimed their slice of glory.

The 1979 First Grade Premiers

The 1979 First Grade Premiers

Maurie 'Moz' Lonergan played five-eighth in the '79 premiership team and remembers that grand final match well: "That win was a shock to the rugby league pundits."

Prior to 1979 the club had a couple of ordinary years, according to Moz. So to shake things up, they headhunted St George's Brian Wood to come in as captain/coach.

"He brought professionalism to the club, and turned it around in two years which set a good grounding for the next few years," Moz said.

The Macksville boys were the underdogs going into the finals against Smithtown.

"But we just peaked on the day, with all 15 players playing a part in the victory. We worked as a unit," Moz said.

Left: Tiger coach Peter Chapman is well wrapped up by Macksville defenders Ian Coombes and Maurie Lonergan. Right: Maurie Lonergan dives for a loose ball spilled by a Smithtown attacker, with Terry Sullivan on hand if needed.

Left: Tiger coach Peter Chapman is well wrapped up by Macksville defenders Ian Coombes and Maurie Lonergan. Right: Maurie Lonergan dives for a loose ball spilled by a Smithtown attacker, with Terry Sullivan on hand if needed.

Moz then went on to coach the '89 U18 premiership side.

They were a young side, not unlike the 2018 U18s, and Moz had been with them from 15s all the way through.

"They were a standout team," he said.

"But it was a very strong competition that year - Bello, Kempsey, Sawtell and Macksville all had great teams.

"At the end of four rounds Macksville had 580 points for and only 78 points against. Bellingen also had 580 points for, but 80 points against."

The 1989 Under 18 champions

The 1989 Under 18 champions

With the same number of wins, losses and draws there was only a field goal in it.

After a thrilling final at the infamous graveyard, the Macksville boys came away with a 22-8 victory and wrote themselves into the Group 2 history books forever.

The beer will likely flow as freely as the stories this weekend. And Macca said while it's baby steps this year for the inaugural event, there are already ideas ruminating about future years and golf tournaments and a bit of club fundraising.

Welcome home flock.

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