Mistakes prove costly for Comets
MACLEAY VALLEY 32
COFFS HARBOUR 22
The Comets looked set to score and get a kick to equalise late in the game but Macleay Valley's Michael Davis somehow intercepted a pass toward two unmarked Comets players. Shortly after instead of scores being level, the Mustangs led by 10.
"There were crucial mistakes at crucial times by both players and officials." - Jamie Harth (Coffs Harbour).
"It wasn't our best game but it's not how you win that's important, so long as you win," - Tom Walker (Macleay Valley)
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE effort is obvious, the desire is there and the ability to dig deep for each other is constantly brewing.
All of these traits are vital ingredients to be a successful team but what is lacking at Coffs Harbour so far this season is the execution.
If Comets coach Scott Mieni didn't shave his head he'd still have the same haircut this morning because he'd be ripping his hair out at the opportunities that go begging.
"I think that was one that got away," Mieni said after yesterday's 32-22 loss to Macleay Valley.
"In the first 15 minutes after half time we just did too much tackling because we were undisciplined with the ball.
"You just can't do it, that's elementary stuff in football."
Leading 12-6 and in a position where the lead should've been greater if not for Warren Wellington missing all four attempts at goal to that point, the Comets went on to give up the ball early in the tackle count six times in 12 sets either side of the interval.
It was a mistake late in the game that proved the final nail in Coffs Harbour's coffin for the day.
Trailing 28-22 with only minutes remaining, Darren Blackett followed a high kick beautifully to regather and it looked like the Comets were poised to possibly equalise.
With numbers outside him on the right, Blackett's pass was miraculously intercepted by Macleay Valley's Michael Davis and three tackles later the ball was grounded beyond the try line to seal the game for the Mustangs.
If Mieni was disappointed at the loss because of his team's error rate, he was left absolutely fuming at the end of the game with the performance of referee Kirk Taylor and the touch judges.
"I thought we were on the raw end of a few decisions today and I'm not going to back away and hide from that, and they were at vital stages too," the coach growled.
"My eyesight's going but if a couple of those balls didn't bounce forward or get lost in the tackle when they scored then I'm not here."
Macleay Valley gave their opponents plenty of chances to win, particularly when you consider that the Mustangs were flat for the opening half an hour.
Whether it was a hangover from last week's big win over Port Macquarie or the travel up the highway, Macleay Valley's captain-coach Kurt Hancock knew what needed to be done to turn things around and he led from the front.
"Basically we sped things up," Hancock said.
"When we play at speed we're a very hard side to beat but in that first half an hour we were on our heels, we weren't going forward, we weren't doing anything at speed.
"We had a chat about it after they scored a try and we just tried to lift that up and that last five to ten minutes before half time was a turning point."
A couple of the players may have underestimated the Comets' mobile pack but Hancock had one message for his players to take through the rest of the season so a repeat of yesterday's start doesn't occur again.
"You've got to be on your game this year with this competition, otherwise you're going to get rolled."