Group 16 clash 30 years in the making

• Tathra Sea Eagles Rugby League Club stalwarts from the ’80s will be on hand to watch the first Bemboka to the Beach clash on Sunday.

• Tathra Sea Eagles Rugby League Club stalwarts from the ’80s will be on hand to watch the first Bemboka to the Beach clash on Sunday.

GROUP 16 rugby league on Sunday will see a clash 30 years in the making. 

The Tathra Sea Eagles will meet the Candelo-Bemboka Panthers at the Tathra Beach Country Club for the first of a new perpetual trophy. 

Sea Eagles secretary Peter Finucane said the clash had been a long time coming since a Candelo-Bemboka ball washed up on Tathra Beach in the ’80s. 

“This football washed up on the beach ... and it was  a Candelo-Bem-boka ball so the guys just took it up to the pub,” Finucane said. 

“Seeing as both clubs were in recess at the time it was decided if both clubs came back we would challenge the Panthers to come down and win it back.”

The original ball has since been hard to track down, but Finucane said the club will create a commemorative trophy. 

He said club members were unsure of where the ball had floated down the river from, but was certain it was during a flood in the early ’80s. 

“Both fields have the river at the side ... you could lose a ball boy for half an hour looking for it.”

Finucane said the club is seeking any information on the whereabouts of the ball. 

“If you know where it is, the club would like to use it as an actual trophy for the challenge over the next few years,” Finucane said. 

Finucane said it was an “amazing story and a bit of history” for both clubs. 

“It could have ended up in New Zealand.”

The ongoing trophy will become a bit of a “Bemboka to the Beach” challenge.

Meanwhile, Finucane said he is excited to promote the Men of League on Sunday. 

“We have a fairly good representation with the Men of League, so we want to promote the day and we’ll have a Men of League Shield to go along with the footy,” he said. 

The Sea Eagles reserve grade had gone winless for a two-year stretch, but is now coming in to solid form. 

“They came close with Bega in the first round and then won the next two,” Finucane said. 

“We’ve been really proud of the effort they’ve been putting and in they’ve stuck to their guns.

“They’re pretty keen to take on the Candelo-Bemboka boys.”

Finucane said he hopes to see a good crowd turn out to cheer on the club and show their support for the Men of League.  

Tathra will play the Merimbula-Pambula Bullpups and Hotdoggies on Sunday from noon. 

Meanwhile, the main event will be the Sea Eagles’ clash with the Panthers at 2.30 at the Tathra Beach Country Club. 

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