TRY SCORER: South Grafton High’s Lewis Cooper.
TRY SCORER: South Grafton High’s Lewis Cooper.

South Grafton slips up in Buckley Shield quarter-final

DYLAN O'Neill finished with a try-scoring double as South Grafton High went down fighting in its Buckley Shield quarter-final appearance in Sydney.

South Grafton fell just short, losing 20-16 to Narrabeen Sports High in the statewide under-14 rugby league knockout.

South led 10-8 at half-time after tries to O'Neill and Lewis Cooper but the north Sydney outfit scored back-to-back converted tries early in the second half to open up a 20-10 lead.

South gradually fought their way back into the contest and when O'Neill scored his second try with eight minutes on the clock the game was in the balance.

South had opportunities to score in the dying stages but were unable to capitalise on the opportunities.

"We were going at them for the last 10 minutes, getting closer and closer but just couldn't get in front," South coach Matt McKee said.

"We were attacking their line with about three min-utes to go. Then they dropped the ball to give us a set with 30 seconds to go. We were about 20 out when the siren rang. Rio Gardoll kicked the ball but their fullback took a slips catch and booted it out. It's one of those times in footy if the kick comes off we win, if it doesn't we lose."

South has a strong record in the Buckley Shield including a grand final appearance three years ago with a side that included several members of the school's current Opens team.

South Grafton High is scheduled to take on Maclean High in the Daily Examiner Shield Under-14 final. The two schools are also through to the Open final.

Originally scheduled to be played Wednesday, August 13, the DEX Shield finals night has been moved to the later date of Wednesday, August 27.

Maclean High's Opens team is expected to play a quarter-final of the University Shield on Friday, August 15 and did not want to risk injury two days prior to the big match.



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