Roosters crow in grand final
NAMBUCCA HEADS 30 COFFS HARBOUR 26 By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE ghost of grand finals past didn't visit Nambucca Heads yesterday as they atoned for last year's heartbreaking loss to Bellingen by defeating Coffs Harbour 30-26 in an error riddled grand final. Of the 10 tries scored in the match, eight of them came in the set after the opposition made a mistake. In the end it was two knock ons by Coffs Harbour late in the second half that proved the most costly. When a Nowan Williams line break found Grant Booth in support running at top speed, the ensuing Booth try gave the Comets a four point lead and momentum. Next set though Keedan Williams dropped the ball cold and Nambucca centre Tyrone Ussher-Kinnear thought all his Christmases had come at once when he was allowed to run unchallenged over the line to regain the lead that they never lost thanks to another Comet's knock on that was punished five minutes later. It was a roller coaster ride throughout as momentum swung back and forth but Nambucca Heads coach Anthony Field had confidence in his game plan and his team. "Coffs Harbour the way we saw it was you stop Brynjar Ragnarsson and you stop the rest of them," Field said. "We've got very good players at five-eighth, halfback, hooker, fullback and centreand we really had it over the top of them in that area. "So it was a matter of stopping the prop, getting off the line and getting underneath him and dropping him and that's what they did." The efforts of second-rower Taylor Hamilton-Giggins and prop Jacob Ingold were important in the victory as was the ability of young halfback Mitch Edwards to steer his team around the park. The Rooster's coach was happy with the defensive workload, especially the first 10 minutes of the second half when they were camped in their own half but he would've been tearing his hair out with each of the Rooster's errors. The Nambucca captain Greg Nichol could afford to smile about the error count after the match but knew that he should be counting his blessings. "We've been doing that all year, it's sort of a tradition for us, we get on top then we let them go," the captain admitted. "Luckily we got enough points on them today to hold them out." Nambucca Heads might have been able to joke about the near disaster but the vanquished don't have that luxury. Coffs Harbour coach Troy Rawson was left to rue the opportunities that his boys let slip and ultimately handed over. "We didn't complete our sets so our ball control was what disappointed me the most today," Rawson said. "It was also disappointing to see that our good tacklers slipped off a few tackles early in the game but a turning point was when we lost Michael Spence who has been one of our best defenders all year." Naturally deflated by the defeat, Rawson was still able to put a positive spin on the loss as he looked forward to next year. "We're very disappointed but we take a few things away from today like a bit of experience as a lot of the blokes in the side hadn't played in a grand final before," he explained. "I just said to them at half time that I think in the first half a few of us were overawed by the occasion." The Roosters coach also looked ahead to next year with relish as he hoped for a visit from the ghost of grand finals future. "Out of this squad of 19 today there'll be 12 back next year so we'll be awesome again next year with Mitch Edwards steering us around the park," the winning coach enthused. NAMBUCCA HEADS ROOSTERS 30 (Taylor Hamilton-Giggins, Mitch Edwards, Greg Nichol, Jermaine Edwards, Tyrone Ussher-Kinnear tries; Mitch Edwards 5 goals) d COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 24 (Pat Brennan 2, Nowan Williams, Grant Booth, Hugh Amos tries; Nowan Williams 3 goals) Scrums: Nambucca Heads 8-4. Penalties: Coffs Harbour 4-2. Errors: Coffs Harbour 7, Nambucca Heads 6. Best Players: Nambucca Heads - Jacob Ingold, Mitch Edwards, Taylor Hamilton-Giggins. Coffs Harbour - Dave Woods, Nowan Williams, Brynjar Ragnarsson.