FIGHT FOR METRES: A familiar face in Dwayn Duke made his return for the Rebels.
FIGHT FOR METRES: A familiar face in Dwayn Duke made his return for the Rebels. Brad Greenshields

Rebels to soul search after disappointing turn out

RUGBY LEAGUE: While he was proud of the efforts of the few players who busted their guts, South Grafton Rebels coach Ron Gordon said the club will need to have a serious talk after he was left short-handed in a charity clash against the Navy Tridents on Saturday.

The weakened Rebels outfit had to rely on Under 18s players backing up from their earlier clash against Bellingen to fill out the numbers, as they fell 26-10 to a willing Navy side.

While work commitments ruled a fair few of his top grade players out of the clash, Gordon said he still felt let down by a few late pull outs.

"The score really wasn't a reflection of the circumstances that we faced on the day,” Gordon said.

"A lot of my Under 18s had to step up to the plate and it was pretty disappointing for some of the blokes pulling out at the last minute.

"I think I only counted five first graders out on the field for the game.”

One of those first graders was front-rower Karl Woodley who led from the front with a valiant 80 minute performance.

In the absence of regular captain Grant Stevens, Woodley was given the captain's armband by his coach and responded to the call up accordingly.

PACK LEADER: South GRafton Rebels were led by a spirited effort from Karl Woodley in their charity match against Navy Tridents at Bellingen Park.
PACK LEADER: South GRafton Rebels were led by a spirited effort from Karl Woodley in their charity match against Navy Tridents at Bellingen Park. Brad Greenshields

"He was over the moon to get the opportunity to lead the side, and he definitely showed the commitment to the club on the field,” Gordon said.

"He played his guts out for the entire contest along with Rowan Hardy, who also put in a massive performance.”

Woodley is now top of the tree to captain the Rebels in the first month of the season while Stevens is sidelined after knee surgery.

The match also gave Gordon his first look at new recruit Izack Smidt, who has joined the club from Woolgoolga Seahorses.

Gordon said commitment to the club would be at the forefront of training sessions over the next couple of weeks ahead of the Group 2 season kicking off in early April.

"We definitely need to have a conversation about the culture that we want to have at the Rebels,” he said. "Karl is doing a great job holding a few of the players together, and he embodies that level of commitment we want.”

The game against Navy was a curtain raiser for the annual Sgt Matthew Locke MG Charity match between Army Thunder and a Bellingen Barbarians side.

Army Thunder narrowly edged the win 24-20.



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