TAREE Panthers chalked a sixth successive grand final win in their age division when defeating Port City Breakers 36-30 in the Group Three Junior Rugby League under 16 decider played at Wingham.
The Panthers finished with 12 players on the field after hooker Taye Cochrane was sent off for an incident involving Port City fullback Josh Goldberg midway through the game.
Goldberg was taken to hospital by ambulance and the game was halted for nearly an hour.
Taree led 36-20 well into the last quarter of the game, but playing one short started to take a toll as the Breakers began to find gaps in the defensive line.
Port ran in two late tries, the second coming just before fulltime and the Panthers managed to hold the Breakers out to claim the premiership.
Fullback Ethan Ferguson was outstanding for the Panthers and was named player of the match.
"It was a hard game,'' Taree coach Doug Ferguson said at fulltime. "Both sides fought hard.''
He said Taree's combination was important in the final result.
"The boys have been playing together for long enough now. They know what they have to do and how to get it done.''
The players will head to under 18s next year, but Ferguson isn't sure if he'll be applying to coach them at senior level.
"It depends on what happens with the young fella (his son, Ethan),'' he said.
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