YOUNG MAESTRO: South Grafton Rebels halfback Allan McKenziehas been one of the club's best acquisitions this season, and helped guide the side to another strong victory over Nambucca Heads.
YOUNG MAESTRO: South Grafton Rebels halfback Allan McKenziehas been one of the club's best acquisitions this season, and helped guide the side to another strong victory over Nambucca Heads. Matthew Elkerton

Complete performance gives Rebels back their smiles

RUGBY LEAGUE: The happiness is back for the South Grafton Rebels.

That was the message from first grade coach Ron Gordon after a complete team performance saw the Rebels overcome Nambucca Heads Roosters 52-22.

While it was regular try-scorers Ant Skinner and Kieron Johnson-Heron getting their names on the scoresheet, Gordon said it would not have been possible save for the work of their inside men.

"You couldn't put anyone above the other," he said. "I think it was the best team performance we have put in all season."

One player who did stand out for the coach was the returning Luke Welch, who was awarded co-captaincy for the remainder of the season alongside front-rower Karl Woodley.

The captain's armband appeared to awaken the reliable lock with Welch making more than 50 tackles and easily cracking double figures in hit-ups.

"I think coming back from two months off the field, in his mind he had a few things to make up for," Gordon said.

"I was happy to give him the opportunity as captain, he won't let us down."

It was also a special moment for the South Grafton club with the son of former club stalwart Steve Kirby, Damon, making his first grade debut on the wing.

With several players unavailable for the Saturday game, the Rebels' under-18s fullback was given the nod to take up a spot on the left edge.

"He played really well on the wing, he was put under a bit of pressure under the high ball but he had no trouble at all," Gordon said.

The Rebels will now aim to keep up the momentum and put together their first run of consecutive victories when they host the Sawtell Panthers at McKittrick Park this weekend.



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