HEARTBREAK: Macksville steal last spot in finals from Woopi
RUGBY LEAGUE: After a full regular season, it came down to the final game to decide who would and wouldn't be playing finals footy.
Woolgoolga Seahorses entered Sunday afternoon's must win game against Macksville Sea Eagles quietly confident despite some disappointing results against the competition frontrunners the previous weeks.
After a nervy start by both sides it was Macksville second rower Jordan Moore who opened the scoring after scooping up a sloppy pass and running 15m.
It didn't take the Seahorses long to respond though, with winger Edward Vincent crossing in the corner.
The Sea Eagles regained their lead after a nice block play off a scrum, with centre Sam Shields bursting through a wide hole to race away 65m to score.
Shields then grabbed his second try in five minutes to extend Macksville's lead to 18-6.
With the halftime break nearing Macksville were heaping the pressure on Woolgoolga's defensive line before it finally broke, with a ricocheted Cameron Blair grubber sitting up perfectly for fullback Jai Whaddy to cross.
Down 22-6 at the commencement of the second half, the Seahorses needed some inspiration and it came through Sione Fangupo.
The powerhouse centre busted through multiple tackles from close range to get his side back into the contest.
Ten minutes later it was wily veteran Clark Webb who provided a spark for Woolgoolga, as the playmaker darted from marker and ducked under a tackle to score under the posts.
The Seahorses momentum was halted less than five minutes later though after a brilliant run from Whaddy allowed backrower Sam Miles to barge over from 10m out.
Woolgoolga hit back almost instantly thanks to a sublime solo try from winger Vetta Pettit who dragged the scores back to 26-22, but their comeback ended there.
Another try to Moore and a four-poinmter to Jack Keough meant the visitors walked away with a 38-22 win and the last spot in the 2019 finals.
It brings to a close a great comeback year for the Seahorses, having not participated in Group 2 senior rugby league last year.
Macksville will play the Sawtell Panthers next Saturday in the elimination final.