Conversion snatches win
By TONY WHITE
MACLEAN High School fullback Brett O'Connor became an instant hero after a conversion in extra time sealed a miraculous victory over Grafton High in the Under-14 Daily Examiner Shield at McKittrick Park.
As the ball sailed between the posts pandemonium broke loose with delirious Maclean teammates swamping O'Connor amid wild celebrations.
It was an incredible end to a see-sawing match.
After the scores were dead locked 18-all at full-time, five minutes of extra time was scheduled.
Grafton centre Justin Brown scored after three and a half minutes but halfback Oral Monaghan narrowly missed the conversion attempt. Grafton hit the front 22-18 and looked home and hosed as time ticked away.
With less than 10 seconds left, the referee ordered a scrum after a knock on.
When the siren sounded Grafton players thought the game was over and started celebrating, but the referee ordered the scrum be packed.
Maclean won the scrum and an incredible sequence of events began.
Reminiscent of the New Zealand All Black's post full-time Bledisloe Cup win several years back, the ball went through at least 15 Maclean players hands as they went fromone side of the field to the other and back again, somehow managing to offload to supports and keep their chances alive.
Finally, centre Jarrod Potter broke through and dived over 10m wide of the uprights.
The Grafton players couldn't believe it. They were stunned, devastated.
O'Connor stepped up to the mark and ensured his team a fairytale result by converting.
Apart from the drama charged end, the talking point from the game was the crash tackling rivalry between Grafton's Adam Jurd and Maclean's Nick Bell.
The two went at each other like raging bulls locking horns for the entire 50 minutes.
Rangy lock Jurd, a fine prospect, had a brilliant game in attack and defence to earn man of the match honours.
Monaghan and second-rower Mitchell Carolin also played strongly.
Maclean were best served by Bell, hooker Theo Woods and centre Braden Burgess.