Orara toughen up

OUT Coramba way there's a new groove in the neighbourhood.

For years, the long line of magicians that have graced the Coramba Sportsground turf have thrilled with their razzle dazzle style of football that could conjure up tries from any part of the field but this year it is different.

Sure the likes of Matt Donovan, Nic Read, Brett Davis and Hayden Fisher can still score amazing tries but it's not that necessary for the 2007 model Axemen who are now taking real pride in strangling the life out of an opponent.

Yesterday, Orara didn't let a once-again-disappointing Coffs Harbour cross the try line until the 78th minute as they racked up a 34-6 victory.

In the past three weeks, the Axemen's opponents have scored a total of only 28 points. That includes a match against the competition leading Port Macquarie.

"I think we understand the concept of what it takes to play semi-final football," a pleased Axemen captain-coach Darryl Fisher said.

"I think behind Port we're the second best defensive side and that's something that we've worked on pretty hard this year.

"I think it's a little bit new to the club. They've probably in the past been a little bit like Macksville where it's basically try and score more points than us.

"It's been challenging but I think everyone is starting to understand the concept. It's really good to see."

The Axemen did score seven tries yesterday to show that they've still got that touch of magic that leaves opponents guessing as they careered away to a win that once again saw the club regain the Ken Orr Memorial Trophy.

At no stage though did Coffs Harbour ever look like threatening the opposition try line.

Comets captain-coach Aaron Dyett was at a loss for words at the end of yesterday's contest as he struggled to find the reasons why his team, who not so along ago were genuine contenders, now look like a club that's merely making up the numbers.

"To put in another performance like that really is disappointing," he said. "The spirit during the week was there and the preparation was good but it gave false hope. Match day execution was again poor."

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