South Grafton side through to first grand final in a decade
A FREAKISH display from young gun Thomas McGrady helped South Grafton Rebels through to a shot at history.
The Rebels took on the minor premiership-winning Macksville Sea Eagles in yesterday's preliminary final for the right to feature in Sunday's Group 2 grand final day.
Coach Ron Gordon said he felt overwhelmed when Macksville held a late lead before his troops rallied one last time to win 42-32.
"I'm stoked," Gordon said. "The boys turned up today.
"The old flu came back. I was coughing my guts up and getting a bit nervous.
"I said before the game, if we turn up like we did against Woolgoolga last week, then we'd be fine."
"We held a 10-point lead for ages, but they fought back. Big Aussie (Cooper) started running hard again and got us home."
There is no disputing the 2014 Under-18 Rebels are a special side.
The side features several gun players: the speedy prop Cooper; the hard-working Mason Graham; the playmaking prowess of Luke Roberts; and the excitingly unpredictable McGrady brothers, Thomas and Nicholas.
While Gordon didn't want to single out any individual players from what was an outstanding team performance, the influence of Thomas McGrady was too hard to ignore.
"Twice the opposition got through the line and looked like they would score, but Tom chased them down. One time he got the ball out and the other one he tackled into touch.
"He took an amazing bomb with one hand and scored as well."
Gordon said it would be the first time the Rebels featured on grand final day in a decade.
"I'm positive we've never won an Under-18s premiership either, so the boys have a chance at history," he said.
The Rebels will face Sawtell Panthers in the decider.