Macksville Stingers defeat champions Woolgoolga in grand final penalty shootout

COMETH the moment, cometh the man, cometh the mullet.

That was the exotic cocktail as unlikelies Macksville Stingers caused a pulsating grand final upset this morning in the North Coast Football 14s boys competition.

The Stingers were up against the impeccably credentialled and runaway minor premiers Woolgoolga Dolphins.

And the way the match opened at Leisure Park, Coffs Harbour, was according to script, as the Dolphins looked to have an edge in skill.

It wasn't long before Woopi's Ryder Stephens - who was giving a masterclass in wizardry and nutmegs - went on a mazy run to put the first on the board.

The Dolphins continued to dazzle and Macksville somehow hung on - not least through the efforts of keeper Aidan Laird who was Galdalf-like in ensuring none would pass.

Deep into the first half and somewhat against the run of play, the Stingers Sahib Shoker broke the shackles when he flighted a ball from 17 metres which curved, dipped and deceived the Dolphins custodian.

So 1-all into the break, only for Woopi to come out firing in the second half with an exocet that thumped into the crossbar.

Macksville had somehow handled all that the Dolphins could muster - sensed they had a sniff, and lifted.

They got their swagger on, and their many mullets began dancing with danger.

They were finishing the stronger, and keeper Aidan was resembling the Great Red Wall at the increasing number of now long range shots by the Dolphins.

It was still locked up one-apiece at full-time, and there was no addition to the scoreboard even after two ends of extra time.

The dreaded penalty shootout awaited and Macksville were first to tee-off. The two sides went goal for goal through their first eight shots.

Hunter Ford stepped to the plate for the Stingers and made it 5-4. Then the deadlock was finally broken when Macksville man of the moment Aidan moved to his left to smother a challenging Woolgoolga shot and seal the trophy.

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