The Under 18s Macksville Sea Eagles hit the road on Saturday to take on the Old Bar Pirates at the Port Macquarie Stadium, in a match which was set to be a thriller.
It was semi-finals time, with the first-placed Eagles taking on the fourth-placed Old Bar Pirates.
Macksville knew it was going to be a hard game; after coming into the Group 3 competition for the first time this year and taking out the Minor Premiership, all other teams were after the Eagles like greyhounds chasing the rabbit.
The rain cleared up and it was kick off time. Old Bar crossed the line in the opening minutes to start the scoring off, taking it to 4-0 with a missed conversion.
Macksville kicked off with a deep kick-chase into the right corner and it was on. There were some hard hits from both sides that had you thinking you were watching the smash-up derbies.
An error from Macksville saw Old Bar sneak in for another try and another a failed conversion, taking the score to 8-0.
Macksville's 'Big Man' Riley Mylrea made some devastating runs at the Old Bar defence line leaving them staggering, and allowing for superstar Logan Jones to break through and open Macksville's scoring up.
Oshay 'Elmasari' Tyerman was back on again, with a successful kick taking the score to 6-8.
It wasn't long after, that Travis 'Thor' Downton was leaving carnage behind him with huge hits, followed by some shifty ball work to Isaac 'Oates Jnr' to score in the corner for Macksville.
Elmasari slotted in another superb kick over the black dot, putting the Macksville Sea Eagles in the lead at 12-8.
Half time hit and Old Bar come out hungry, again scoring the first try - this time in the second half with a lovely flick pass down the left-hand side. Another missed conversion tied the score at 12 all.
The scoring went quiet for a couple of sets with some big hits from both sides, but Macksville enforcer Manuel Sutton put on a grandstand shaker - a bone breaking shot - putting Macksville on the front foot.
'Cam Smith Jnr' (Finn Stephens) stepped up and started bossing his forwards around to try to take control of the game. And superstar Logan Jones used the opportunity to break the line again for a runaway try, followed by a missed kick from 'Elmasari' Tyerman which left Macksville in the lead, 16-12.
The Pirates were fast to hit back with their full-back crossing over for his second try, and a successful conversion.
The last quarter hit, and the Eagles huddled up with the skipper, Dane Saunders, having some encouraging words to say.
Fourth quarter started with 'Dreamtime' Dane having a good game, taking it on himself to do some Benji Marshall-like stepping to barge over for the try line for Macksville. 'Elmasri' Tyerman slotting it over again to set the score in at 22-18 to the Eagles.
There were three minutes left on the clock and Macksville had the lead. But the Pirates weren't going down that easy, and stripped the ball in what was a questionable tackle.
Macksville were stuck in their own ten, trying to defend their line with their hearts and souls, but the Old Bar full-back barged over the line in the crucial final moments for his third try. The conversion was successful making the final score 22-24.
Old Bar took out the semi-finals and knocked the Macksville Sea Eagles out of the finals in a tough match - the outcome devastating the Eagles.
It was unlucky for the Macksville Sea Eagles, but that's football.
I'm proud of the way they all played each week. It was an honour to coach these young men.
It has been a rocky and unprecedented year but a great journey. Congratulations to the boys on taking out the Minor Premiership.
Thanks to everyone who have helped and supported us this year.
Now it's time to focus on and get ready for the 2021 season. Up the Eagles!