LOGISTICS have changed and not everything is normal but the regions junior rugby league players are finally back in action with the Macleay Valley Mustangs U'18's winning their first match of the year over the Macksville Sea Eagles.
The Under 18's are usually considered apart of the Group 3 senior competition however changes have been made that sees the 18's play under the Group 3 junior rugby league umbrella this year.
The Mustangs secured a 12-6 win and will hope to continue their good form next weekend against Forster-Tuncurry Hawks who smashed Port City Breakers 24-8.
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Try-scorers for the Mustangs were Mason Powick, Harrison Nemme and Tirell Dungay.
Coach, Reuben Jones, said his side really had to dig deep after losing a player early.
"We went down to 12 men within the first 10 minutes of the game after a player was sent off for an indiscretion," he told the Argus.
"The boys worked really hard and to come away with a win one man down was a big effort against a strong Macksville side who I believe are a title contender."
Jones, who is also President of the Kempsey Dragons, explained that the cancellation of rugby league due to COVID-19 has made his Mustangs side more committed at training.
"We played a lot better than I thought we would in terms of fitness - especially with 12 men."
"We're not normally consistent with numbers at training but this year almost everyone has been to every session and I think that's something to with the boys missing footy and grateful they're able to get out there and have a run."
The Kempsey Dragons junior sides also kicked off their season with the Under 16's boys going down 26-20 to the Taree Panthers.
Dragons under 16's women's league tag side walked away from Verge Street Oval with massive smiles, destroying Bowraville 52-0 with the mercy rule brought in after the score reached that stage.
Smithtown Tigers under 15's also won convincingly, defeating Bowraville 32-6.
Jones said the day went really well with COVID-19 restrictions applied.
"The junior and senior clubs have merged together so we have more volunteers now and things ran really smoothly," he said.