GOAL kicking winger Michael Bailey proved to be the difference in the Group Three Rugby League under 18 major semi-final between Wingham and Taree City.
The Tigers upset the minor premiers 24-18 in a quality game to be the first into the grand final.
Taree will now have to play Forster-Tuncurry in the final at Old Bar this Sunday after the Hawks ended Port Macquarie’s season with a 28-14 win in the minor semi.
Taree led 12-6 at halftime after scoring three tries.
However, Wingham had the best of a fluctuating second half, with Bailey landed four pressure goals to seal the victory. In contrast Taree kicked just one goal, although the majority of attempts were from difficult angles.
Second rower Jake Mullen had a powerful game for the Tigers in what was a pretty good team effort.
Taree will have brothers Lattrel and Shaq Mitchell available for next weekend after both served suspension in the major semi. However, Shaq is unlikely to play as he recently underwent an appendectomy.
Taree started on song when a long pass from halfback Kane Allan eventuated in fullback Ben Murray crashing over however, Wingham replied immediately when Mullen crashed over and Bailey kicked the first of his goal.
A strong run by centre Pat Atchison saw the Bulls back in the lead and when second rower Dallen Hilton sent winger Brody Howard over for Taree’s third try it was 12-6 at the break.
But busy halfback Mitch Collins levelled the scores with a converted try soon after the resumption.
The Tigers were full of running and five-eighth Tim Bridge scored a smart individual try for Bailey again to convert and suddenly it was 18-12.
Interchange player Carl Habracken crashed over near the posts for the Bulls and the goal to five-eighth Dylan Towers again squared it all up.
Just when extra time looked a real chance second rower Blake Fraser split the line anbd sent fullback Blake Sky over.
Bailey was again on line with the conversion and the Tigers were in front by six and they managed to hold onto the lead in the time remaining.