Marlins hook first Hastings League grand final spot

About to cross the line: Shawn Madeley in action for the Lower Macleau Magpies on Saturday in the match against Comboyne Tigers. Pic: NIGEL McNEIL
About to cross the line: Shawn Madeley in action for the Lower Macleau Magpies on Saturday in the match against Comboyne Tigers. Pic: NIGEL McNEIL

SOUTH West Rocks Marlins are through to the Hastings League grand final after beating Kendall Blues on Saturday in the major semi at Lank Bain Sporting Complex.

The Marlins won 44-26 in an exciting game of rugby league where the halves shone.

South West Rocks kicked on to victory late in the game when the scores were locked at 26-all. Stephen Blair crossed for a double, while Darrell Thompson and Owen Blair Junior also found the line to lock in the Marlins' grand final spot.

Earlier, it took the Marlins just two minutes to score the first points of the afternoon when Sam Drew went in.

The Blues then hit back with tries to Sean Minns, Dale Higgins and Jake Kingston.

Paul Owens and Blair junior crossed for Marlins to close the gap to 14-12.

It was free-flowing football to end the first half, with Geordan Smith (Marlins) and Joel Wilks (Blues) scoring to have the scores at 18-16 the Blues' way at the break.

Kingston scored again for the Blues in the second half. Marlins centre Ruben Dufty matched that with a double of his own.

Blair junior scored again, but Ken Young hit back for the Blues and it was 26-26. The Marlins went on with it after that and the Blues just couldn't hang on.

The Kendall side missed big Brad Smith.

"He can be a handful for the opposition on his day," Hastings League president Geoff Connor said.

He said the "super kids" the Blair brothers were strong again, as they had been all season for the Marlins.

"They're pretty smart, the Marlins," Connor said.

"They've mucked around with a couple of positions for Stephen Blair, but they've settled on the wing. I reckon it suits him."

The Blues will have to go the long way to make the decider. They face Lower Macleay in the preliminary final on Saturday.

"If both squads are full strength, it should go down to the wire," Connor said.

The Magpies beat Comboyne on Saturday in the elimination final, in a win which was built in the first half.

They led 22-0 at the break and went on to win 32-10.

The Bun Hayward Cup elimination finals are also on Saturday at Lank Bain Complex.

It's Lake Cathie v the Boardies at 1pm, followed by the Shamrocks v Harrington Hurricanes.

Admission is $5.