In a torrid major semi-final at Bega last Sunday, the Raw Prawn Bistro Narooma Devils Under 18s booked a place in the Group 16 Grand Final with a nail-biting 10-8 win over the Bega Roosters.
This will be the first time in 37 years that the Devils have made the Under 18 Grand Final. In 1981 a team containing such names as Teddy Terare, Glen Wilton, Rohan Moreton and David Kenny crushed the Snowy River Bears by 50 points. But if Sunday’s game is any indication this year’s game will be closer than that.
The first half was a tough, no-holds-barred contest which remained scoreless until a few seconds before the siren when the Devils received a penalty. From the tap a high bomb launched by Clyde Parsons looked to be safely headed for the Bega fullback until Mat Parsons soared through the air to pluck it from his grasp and race over for a try.
Bega struck back with a try after 10 minutes of the second half to even it at 4-all and the game settled into an arm wrestle once more.
The crowd gasped at some of the hits as both teams struggled to get on top and it wasn’t until five minutes from full-time that Mat spotted a tiny gap and dashed through to score near the posts. Clyde converted it and with a few minutes to go the Devils led 10-4.
Bega weren’t done yet and charged back up the field. A kick on the fifth tackle was bobbled by the Devils and the Roosters raced over wide to narrow the score to 10-8 as the full-time siren sounded.
The crowd was silent as the Bega kicker lined up his kick but it sailed to the left, much to the delight of the Devils team and supporters.
It was a great game from both teams. Best for the Devils were Jack Godfrey, Marcus Lonsdale, Kane Duncan, Jackson Kelly and as usual Mat and Clyde Parsons but all players put in a huge effort.
Coach Mark Lonsdale and manager Kerry Day were relieved but very proud of the boys and are eagerly awaiting the Grand Final in Bega on August 19.