TENACIOUS FIGHT: Roosters' centre Jacob Welsh shows the Nambucca spirit as he struggles to break free of the grip of Luke French during the Group 2 clash at McKittrick Park.
TENACIOUS FIGHT: Roosters' centre Jacob Welsh shows the Nambucca spirit as he struggles to break free of the grip of Luke French during the Group 2 clash at McKittrick Park. Matthew Elkerton

BROTHERLY LOVE: Rebels send out SOS for depleted Roosters

RUGBY LEAGUE: While they might have been on the right end of a 100-point winning margin, there was not a lot of celebrating happening in the South Grafton sheds at full-time on Sunday.

Instead the Rebels' thoughts turned to their opponents, with more than three-quarters of the Nambucca Heads Roosters' first grade outfit having backed up from the earlier reserve grade clash.

The Roosters did not have a chance from the opening whistle, with Jeff Skeen breaking through several weak attempts at tackle, and it only got worse from that point.

For South Grafton captain Xavier Sullivan it was tough to watch, but he was proud of the players who did put in for the club.

"They are a bit like a brother club for us; they have gone through some good times and some bad times,” he said. "To see the heart and pride that the few blokes are showing in that jumper it was honestly inspiring.

"I feel for them going down by a margin like that, but I am glad our side was humbled by it all.”

Sullivan, who has been on the receiving end of similar scores only five years ago, said something needed to be done at a higher level to support struggling clubs like the Roosters.

"It is sad to see what they are going through, but the blokes who are turning up for them deserve a pat on the back,” he said.

"I don't know if it is Group 2 or Country Rugby League but something seriously needs to be done about this. We have Gold Coast Titans one side of us, and Newcastle Knights the other, but this whole area seems to be lagging across the board.”

The Rebels were not without their own problems after both Sione Tonga and Phil Bundock pulled out of the clash at the 11th hour.

A reshuffle in the line-up allowed Mike Rigg to make his first grade debut for the club, with Izack Smidt shifting into the halves.

"It was really good to see a few of the boys hitting some form, and the versatility that Izack showed today was incredible,” Sullivan said.



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