Possession nine-tenths of the game
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
A SOLID base of controlled football, followed by a dazzling display from the halves was the recipe for a stunning first half display from Woolgoolga yesterday.
While to the casual observer, chip kicks and brilliant passes that isolated defenders from the halves combination of Arthur Murray and Dave Toomey appeared to be the catalyst for the Seahorse's 34-8 half-time lead, it was in fact Woolgoolga's extraordinary completion rate that laid the platform for the halves to work their magic from.
In the first half, Woolgoolga completed 17 of their 18 sets, and used the sets to score six tries before the the break.
"We've done that the last couple of weeks actually," Woolgoolga's captain-coach, John Cross, said.
"Today we scored a few good tries, but last week we didn't really do too much with the ball, but we just kept completing sets.
"If you do that, you're half a chance."
Proof of the control Woopi had in the first half, was that they scored three unanswered tries in a period of eight minutes, when they were actually one man short after second-rower Craig McVey was given a 10- minute rest by referee Dave Dunn.
As good as Woolgoolga were in the first half, Coffs Harbour were equally as poor.
Poor marker defence, as well as not getting off their own line, allowed Murray and Toomey room to put their skills on display.
"You can't give a side a 20 or 30 points start, and that's the bottom line," said Comets coach Scott Mieni.
"There was a problem early with the defence, and we spoke about it at half-time.
Coffs Harbour did improve somewhat when play re-started, and actually won the second half 20-16 thanks to a hat-trick from centre Cameron Lewis.
"In that second 40, at least we tried things and the score just goes to show," the Comets coach said.
"And even then, it wasn't until 'Crossie' came back on for for five minutes in the second half that they even looked like damaging us."
Upon the resumption of play, Cross actually placed himself on the bench for 20 minutes, in what appeared to be a coach having a look at his charges from a distance.
Cross explained that his motivation behind the move was for a different reason.
"We need some leaders," he said.
"I just seem to find myself doing a lot of the talking, and if I don't talk, no-one talks.
"Even though we conceded a couple of tries, we got something out of it, as they had to get themselves out of trouble."
WOOLGOOLGA SEAHORSES 50 (Arthur Murray 2, Dave Toomey 2, Brad Vines 2, Brad Bird, Mitch Touzel, Troy Morris tries; Murray 4, Toomey 3 goals) d COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 28 (Cameron Lewis 3, Paul Spence 2, Nowan Williams tries; Keedan Williams, N.Williams goals).
Best players: Arthur Murray, Dave Toomey, John Cross (Woolgoolga); Paul Spence, Cameron Lewis, Keedan Williams (Coffs Harbour).
Penalties: Woolgoolga 7-5.
Scrums: Woolgoolga 6-2.
Errors: Coffs Harbour 10, Woolgoolga 5.
Reserve grade: Woolgoolga d Coffs Harbour 32-26.
Under 18s: Coffs Harbour d Woolgoolga 30-26.