GLORIOUS weather greeted the South West Rocks Marlins and the Lower Macleay Magpies for the first round of the local derby.
The Marlins sent out their strongest team of the season so far, and the confidence and self-belief grew on the players as the team entered the field.
Before the whistle blew for the start of play, the referee told both teams to play fair and clean.
What followed, was quite possibly the best game of rugby league played in the Macleay for many years; everyone in the crowd was on the edge of their seats for the entire 80 minutes.
The Magpies scored early at the 7th minute thanks to winger B Clark, conversion unsuccessful 4-0 lead.
At the 13th minute, Corey Giacpelli stormed out wide to level the game 4 all.
Stephan Blair converts Marlins lead 6-4
With the game going from one end of the field to the other, the Magpies launched a missile bomb which paid dividends when the Magpies halfback S Moran scored in the corner after the Marlins let the ball bounce.
Conversion unsuccessful Magpies lead 8-6.
At halftime, the Magpies return to the sheds with a slender 2 point lead.
The Marlins started the second half with a quick try to Malcolm Webster in the 43rd minute.
Stephan Blair converts, giving the Marlins a 12 -8 lead.
But in true derby style, the game was locked up again at 12 all when the Magpies winger scored in the corner.
Over the next 18 minutes, both teams threw everything they had into trying to break the deadlock.
The crowd was cheering all the boys along, but with 5 minutes remaining, Malcolm Webster found the line to score next to the posts.
Stephan Blair made no mistake, the Marlins took the lead 18-12, and with no time left on the board, the Marlins won the hard-fought battle.
Both sides should be commended for a great game of rugby league, and the match officials also should be commended for doing a great job.
After their dust-up over the weekend, the South West Rocks Marlins and Lower Macleay Magpies will play one more time at the South West Rocks Sports Ground in round 18, the last game of the regular season before the finals start later in the year.
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