PHOTOS

Macleay Valley Mustangs eliminate Port City Breakers from 2019 Group 3 competition

SOMETIMES there is no substitute for speed.

It was a scintillating 60-metre try scored by Macleay Valley Mustangs fullback Owen Blair that best described Port City's fate in their 38-26 preliminary final defeat on Sunday.

When brother Stephan chipped over the top and found his brother in support the signs were ominous.

The former Breakers fullback then toed the bouncing ball ahead before he won the race to in-goal to extend the Mustangs lead to 32-16 with 15 minutes remaining.

Breakers coach Dan Kemp said it was one of a number of passages of play where luck eluded his side.

"They score those tries that nobody else does; three tries came from kicks. The chip and chase try kind of breaks your heart," Kemp said.

"We created enough chances to win even though we played poorly, but didn't convert them into points.

You know they're going to have their moments in the game, but you've got to try and limit the damage and we weren't good enough to do that.

Dan Kemp

"You know they're going to have their moments in the game, but you've got to try and limit the damage and we weren't good enough to do that.

"They were better than us."

Blair's try was the second of three in 10 minutes the Mustangs scored midway through the second half that put an end to any Port City revival.

They had clawed their way back to 22-16 with half an hour remaining before Matt Everitt's knock-on following the restart following Jarrod Robbins' try proved costly.

"We had a really good halftime and came up with a really good plan for the second half and the first 10 minutes of the second half was good with what we achieved," Kemp said.

"Then it kind of popped the balloon."

Defensively Port City were not resilient enough and couldn't halt the freewheeling Mustangs attack who also had their fair share of luck.

"We had some individuals that missed way too many one on one tackles; you can't save that for the big day," Kemp said.

We had some individuals that missed way too many one on one tackles; you can't save that for the big day.

Dan Kemp

"Some other individuals were fantastic; Ricky Arnell and Dan Dumas were great and Bailey Connor's effort was fantastic.

"But there were certainly some blokes out there that didn't have their best day and in a grand final qualifier you have to be somewhere near your best like the opposition were."

Emotional Mustangs coach Russell Lardner was lost for words after booking a place in the grand final.

The majority of the Macleay Valley players made sacrifices to return to their hometown club at the beginning of the season.

Lardner credited the belief they brought to the team for their preliminary final victory.

"There's a lot of hard work that went into that victory," he said.

"Everyone came together for this. We all had belief at the start of the season that we could do something special and we proved it today.

"Now we need to finish it off against Wauchope next week, we are going to give it everything."