Comets show good and bad sides

Coffs Comets scored 32 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Bellingen 42-24 at Advocate Park
Coffs Comets scored 32 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Bellingen 42-24 at Advocate Park

COFFS Harbour showed its Jekyll and Hyde faces at Advocate Park today before downing Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 42-24.

Mr Hyde spent the first 30 minutes fumbling away and trailed the Magpies 24-0 before Dr Jeckyll emerged to score just before the break and post 36 unanswered points in the second stanza.

Winning coach Steve Gooley noted the moment when the game changed but is still to be convinced his team's season is fully on the swing.

"I'd like to think it's turned around as I was very proud of them in the second half after the ordinary beginning," he said.

"We talked about a lot of things before the game and didn't really do them and there were other extenuating circumstances around our first half performance.

"Once Bello were getting tired we began playing good footy which I know is in the boys."

On the drying (but still muddy) track, the Magpies began the day with solid, percentage football.

Short passes, always moving forward rather than laterally and absolute ball security was rewarded with four tries off the bat.

Coffs contributed to their own woes by poor line speed which saw Corey Sinclair score the fifth try.

The Comets stood off John Love-Henry as if the lock forward was covered in spiders and after a play-the-ball in front of the posts, quick hands saw Matt Donovan send the rookie centre in to score.

A major asset was the reappearance of coach Brandon Costin in the second row after a three week 'retirement' and whenever he was forced to the sideline, the fortunes of war constantly shifted back to the home side.

Another crucial body blow was having Ryan O'Connor stretchered off in the 43rd minute.

"We started the day with 17 players but once we reached 24-nil, there were only 14 of them left," Costin said.

"It was a heavy ground and we've got young front rowers playing 60 or 70 minutes, of course they (Coffs) are going to go through the middle when my boys have pushed themselves to the brink.

"Eventually it becomes impossible but I'm still super-proud of my boys.

"As far as me off the field goes, it's never been my job to play footy ... it's my job to coach them and I'm not a vital cog... and don't forget they have been winning without me and all the good things they've done have been up to them.

"Sometimes I'm a hindrance as I'm as slow as a wet week."

Once the Comets hit their straps, there were moments of joy for the fans.

Pieces of individual brilliance from Madison Williams and Macauley Dawson led to tries and the switch of Abel Lefaoseu from the second row to the centres was a Gooley masterstroke.

However, he turned on the diplomatic charm when asked if the a tendency for ill discipline - especially the laying off hands on opponents in the play-the-ball for which the Comets have been caned by referees in consecutive weeks - has a correlation to the Mr Hyde face emerging.

"Yes, there are things we have to fix," Gooley chuckled, trying as hard as he could to be non-committal.

"All I can say to supporters is to stick with us, we're starting to get better.

"I think we only made one or two mistakes in the second half and it's hard to ask for much more than that."

Despite the loss, Bellingen is a side loaded with talent and potential and every week provides a highlight.

Including the 'discovery' of Corey Sinclair who followed Matt Donovan around like a drover's dog and if there's one bloke who can teach a bright young man some new tricks it's the venerated 'Mr Magic.'

If he remains injury free, Sinclair is destined to rack up countless first grade appearances in the famous black and white livery.

"They told me Corey was a hooker when I got here and when I saw him at training, I imagined him as a runner," his coach said.

"So centre is the position for now and when he gets running it looks super."

COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 42 (M Dawson 3 A FaiFua Lafaoseu 2 A Penese M Williams tries S Street 7 goals) bt BELLINGER VALLEY-DORRIGO MAGPIES 24 (B O'Connor J Love-Henry C Tapine R McGrady C Sinclair tries L Beaumont N Clark goals)

Scrums: Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 9-3

Penalties: Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 10-7

Errors: Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 9, Coffs Harbour 7

Referee: Ray Pettit

At Advocate Park, Coffs Harbour

Reserve grade: Coffs Harbour bt Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 52-12

Under 18s: Coffs Harbour bye

Topics:  coffs comets group 2

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