North Coast on top
NORTH Coast are one step away from a finals berth in the CRL Country Championships after a fighting 28-24 win over Northern Division at Hastings Regional Stadium on Saturday.
Coach Craig Wallace had to drastically renovate his backline on the eve of the match when three players withdrew and then battle on with a shocking injury toll caused by the heavy defence.
"It wasn't pretty but a win is a win," Wallace said.
"We kept ahead by a couple of points for most of the game and I was glad when the final bell rang."
Adding to Wallace's problems was having to play with a severe dose of the flu.
Port Sharks utility Luke Sprague may have ended his season with serious ligament damage while star Sawtell centre Nathan Davies suffered a corked thigh.
Both missed their club matches yesterday but Davies expects to return to football on May 27.
"It was a tough match and we've got a few concussions but we've now got two weeks to sort through the list and prepare for the next game," the coach said.
North Coast have a formidable task ahead of them after Newcastle won through but will have one advantage.
The game on Saturday May 26 will be played on 'home' soil at either Nambucca Heads or Kempsey.
Opens: North Coast d Northern Division 28-24 (no scorers available). Under 18s: North Coast d Northern Division 50-0.