THROUGH THE GUTS: Woolgoolga Seahorses front rower Leslie Poulava makes metres up the middle on Sunday against the South Grafton Rebels.
THROUGH THE GUTS: Woolgoolga Seahorses front rower Leslie Poulava makes metres up the middle on Sunday against the South Grafton Rebels. Sam Flanagan

Seahorses make gallant return to Group 2

RUGBY LEAGUE: The Woolgoolga Seahorses are back in Group 2 senior rugby league for the first time since 2017 and after their round one showing, may just be the dark horse of the competition.

The Seahorses put in a spirited 80 minutes of footy against the South Grafton Rebels on Sunday, but ultimately went down 30-22.

Woolgoolga led the game at various stages throughout the match and had chances to put their stamp on the two competition points, but just couldn't find the killer blow they needed.

Second half tries to Rebels George Jarrett, Tim Rigg and Luke Walsh were enough for the visitors to walk away with the eight point victory.

"I'm happy with the result, it was a tough way to win,” Rebels coach Craig Youngjohns said.

"First game off the rank and the boys stuck in at the end there and were able to come through with a good result.

"I'm just proud of the boys that they kept coming back at them.”

Youngjohns, who is in his first year as South Grafton coach, said he didn't expect anything less from the resurgent Seahorses.

"We knew they were going to be competitive, they'd been training hard and there was talk they were going to be tough competition and the score shows that.”

For Woolgoolga coach Greg Shuttleworth, he rued his side's missed chances but said they'll be better for the experience.

"Just some basic fundamental errors, we led probably at four stages there where we could have closed shop,” Shuttleworth said.

"But I'm really pleased, the club's come from nowhere to be where we are.

"There's things to address, we know that, but we're heading in the right direction.”

The Seahorses were ravaged with injury throughout the match, finishing the game with no one on the bench, but Shuttleworth was confident they won't be long term problems.

The Seahorses reserve grade side had a win, downing the Rebels 23-8. Woolgoolga head to the hinterland this weekend to take on Orara Valley.

More Group 2 inside