LAST year's Group 2 runners-up Nambucca Heads has had a perfect start to the season with a 20-12 round one victory over Coffs Harbour Comets at Coronation Park.
IN a match where both sides struggled to hold onto the ball the Roosters held off a fast fnishing Coffs Harbour side to secure the win.
The lack of match fitness was evident among both teams with a combined error count of 34 setting the tone for the encounter.
Both sides looked to play physical in the opening stages of the match with the sides looking to get the upper hand early.
Coffs had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 15th minute when Roosters fullback Jermaine Edwards knocked on a towering bomb from Comets halfback Nathan Curry 10 metres out from his own line.
However early season ill discipline hit in with the Comets knocking the ball on themselves only metres short of the line.
It was that lack of discipline that led to the first points of the match in the 20th minute after Coffs Harbour conceded a penalty underneath the posts. Roosters halfback Mitch Edwards didn't waste any time to slot the kick and break the deadlock giving the home side a 2-0 lead.
The visitors nearly struck back with a try under the posts in the 23rd but it was called back after the referee had deemed Coffs Harbour player Joel Thompson had pushed the marker.
It proved to be a costly mistake for the away side with Roosters pivot Jesse McEwen brilliantly kicking through the defence only seconds later before regathering to score the first try of the match.
The try well and truly turned the game in the home side's favour and it wasn't long until the tri-colours crossed the line for the second time in the match.
On the back of a brilliant intercept at the start of its set, the Roosters found space on the western side of the ground through winger Andrew Budd before offloading to a flying Mitch Picker who crashed over the tryline.
Mitchell Edwards added the extras to take the score to 14-0, a lead Nambucca would take into the halftime break.
An incredible solo run from Maddison Williams gave life to the Comets early in the second half.
The speedster evaded four Nambucca defenders and raced 40 metres before diving underneath the posts, Scott Street adding the extras to make it 14-6.
A knock on inside Nambucca's own 10 metre line gave Coffs a great scoring opportunity in the 62nd minute, an opportunity the away side would take full advantage of.
Receiving the ball out the back of the scrum, Comets five-eight Chris Hunt ran a well choreographed set play before hitting a flying Street who raced through a gaping hole in the defence to score.
Coffs Harbour had a number of chances to take the lead in the final 10 minutes but poor ball handling continued to be costly.
Nambucca well and truly iced the game when a pin point cross field kick from Edwards hit winger Budd in space, the winger crossing the line on the final siren.
Nambucca Roosters Coach Garren Stig was relieved to come away with the win but will hope his sides high error count was just a one off.
"Mate a win''s a win but I wasn't happy with the way we played," Stig said.
"Second half was just disgraceful but we will take the two points."
Stig stated his side will have its work cut out for it at training this week.
"We were really rusty out there and thats the worst thing," he said.
"All we can really take away from today is that we hung on and showed plenty of spirit."
Comets çoach Steve Gooley felt his side could take a number of positives out of the loss but was still critical of the performance.
"We were really terrible in the first half and it shows there is still plenty of work to do," Gooley said.
"I was happy with the second half, we made more of an effort and it really showed."
NAMBUCCA HEADS ROOSTERS 20 (J McEwen M Picker A Budd tries M Edwards 4 goals) bt COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 12 (M Williams S Street tries S Street 2 goals)
Scrums: Nambucca Heads 9-7.
Penalties: Coffs 14-10.
Errors: Nambucca Heads 18, Coffs Harbour 10.
Referee: D Dunn
At Coronation Park
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