Macksville Sea Eagles Under 18s finish competition rounds undefeated

Photo by Jodie Moore. The semi-finals match against Sawtell is played at Coffs Harbour this Sunday, with kickoff at 11.30am.
Photo by Jodie Moore. The semi-finals match against Sawtell is played at Coffs Harbour this Sunday, with kickoff at 11.30am.

Boom. Just like that our Under 18s Sea Eagles quietly clinched back-to-back minor premierships. And they did so without giving an inch; they head into the finals after a shutout season so far.

With last year's major and minor premierships in their back pocket, and the hawkish eyes of Group 2's other clubs on the Macksville team, our boys could easily have buckled under the pressure.

But you'll probably never meet another group of teenage boys like this - humble, grounded, and definitely birds of a feather.

A core contingent has been playing together since age nine - a span which allowed the groundwork for a solid underpinning of trust and mateship...something which shows out on the footy field.

It helps really knowing everyone's ability and what they're all thinking.

Captain Lachie Jones

"It's something pretty unique to this team."

The skillset is fairly even across the field, according to coach Todd Bartlett. But when pressed, he concedes the forwards have consistently worked as a solid unit, and "laid the foundation for a lot of wins".

He said there's also a lot of pace out wide by virtue of the backs.

"And we've got some good halves that have some really good ball skills - they spread the ball out."

A few of the boys even got a chance to run in first grade this year, and held their own according to their coach.

While they've come through unscathed thus far, he said there's no room for complacency in finals footy.

And our lads aren't letting the minor premiership win go to their heads at all.

"It felt good to win it, but it means nothing in semi-finals footy because it's sudden death - anything can happen," Lachie said.

Plus, if anything, it's put a target on their backs.

This weekend they're up against a formidable Sawtell side.

"It's a young team but it's made up of good players," Lachie said.

"They're a physical sort of side with a couple of backline players we need to watch out for," coach Bartlett said.

And they had a solid win last week so they'll be carrying that momentum with them through to this Sunday's match against our boys.

But Lachie said it was during their last match against Sawtell that he felt they could go all the way this season too.

"It was a wet, sloppy day - a forwards' game - and we all dug in deep. I was really proud as captain after that game," he said.

Their coach is quietly confident about Sunday too.

"I expect a lot from them and they keep on bringing it each week. They haven't brought a bad performance. And they don't get carried away with their success. They definitely deserved to be minor premiers, so it was good to get that as a reward for a good season...but a couple more wins and it'll be a great season."

This weekend's gameplan is business as usual.

"We just have to do what we've been doing all year - we don't have to change much, just keep on going," co-captain Jordan Moore said.

But winning back-to-back premierships would mean a lot to us. It would be remembered in the club for a long time.

Also in the news