A RUN of unlucky injuries cost Port Macquarie’s men’s 50s side dearly, according to team member Paul Seward.
The team won its first two matches, and was leading its third, against top-of-the-table Ballina, when disaster struck.
Seward hurt his calf, Michael Taylor his thigh and Peter Vincent his groin.
“We were up 2-0, but got beaten 4-3,” Seward said.
The team beat Newcastle 4-3, but ran out of steam, Seward said. Port Macquarie lost to eventual winner Manly 6-1.
“It was a good effort,” Seward said. “Had we not got the injuries, I think we could have gone further.
“We were still in the hunt.”
PORT Macquarie’s women’s 30s team had a great campaign, finishing runner-up to Easts Roosters.
The team far exceeded player-coach Anna Gleeson’s expectations. Gleeson’s goal was for the team to make the finals.
“We did unreal,” she said.
Port Macquarie shot to a 2-0 lead, but the chooks fought back to win 5-3.
“They had too much experience,” Gleeson said.
She said it was too hard to pick a standout player from the tournament. “It’s hard to pinpoint anyone,” Gleeson said.
“Everybody tried their hardest. Everybody had a different role in the side.And everybody did as they were asked.
Gleeson was keen to have another crack at the tournament next year. “Definitely,” she said.
“Everybody is keen to come back.”
PORT’S open mixed team didn’t under-achieve or over-achieve, according to its coach Aaron Ison.
The open mixed outfit finished fourth in the championship division. The team wasn’t far off the pace, only losing 7-4 against both of the eventual finalists, Murwillumbah Mavericks and Easts Roosters.
“We went pretty well,” Ison said. “We went how we thought we would go.”
The players of the tournament were Laura Neale and Simon Martin, according to Ison.
“But everyone played well,” he said.
The team would come back for another shot at the title next year, Ison said.
“Yeah we’ll be right for the next one,” he said.
MASSIVE improvement in the women’s 20s team over the course of the tournament prompted coach Louise Budnick to describe its results as “brilliant”. The team set out to gain valuable experience and improvement this year, and Budnick said the tournament ticked all the boxes.
“The girls are happy with how they went,” Budnick said.
“They absolutely loved it. They had a ball.”
The tournament is valuable experience for the girls, as most now head into the countdown period ahead of the Junior State Cup in February. They will compete in the under-16s, and again in next year’s State Cup: “They want to keep the same team together,” Budnick said. “They’re an amazing group of girls.”
“YES and no” was the answer given when open men’s captain Jamie Archibald was asked if he was happy with his team’s campaign.
While he was happy about progressing to the plate division semi-final, Archibald said the first-half jitters cost Port Macquarie dearly against Wollongong Wolves 2. The team went down 7-3.
Switching off at key periods hurt the team, Archibald said. “We came back late in the game,” he said. “Once your head gets down it could be all over.”
A TOP 12 finish in the state left coach Mick McCall more than a little pleasantly surprised yesterday.
A young and inexperienced team meant things would be difficult from the start, but some good performances meant McCall was “very pleased”.
“I’m very happy with the results,” he said. “It would have been nice to get a few more wins and all that rubbish, but they’re only young, and they’re still learning.”
He was quick to confirm his interest in coaching again next year.
“Of course [I will],” he said. “If they’ll have me.”