Sawtell's Chris Cook takes on the Orara Valley defensive wall.
Sawtell's Chris Cook takes on the Orara Valley defensive wall. Brad Greenshields

Axemen show player power

AN empowered player group was behind Orara Valley's turnaround from one week to the next.

Having lost to Sawtell 10 days ago, the Axemen were faced with exactly the same challenge and handled it a whole better.

Coach Col Speed said the change in fortunes had less to do with him and more to do with players such as captain AJ Gilbert, the experienced Ryan Gill and forwards Cain Bunt and Jared Roberts.

"It's not so much my coaching, it's basically giving them the opportunity to own their own game," Speed said.

"They've got to give feedback on their performance and what they do and they've got to be accountable for what they do on the field."

After two early tries to both teams, the scores remained 12-10 in the Axemen's favour for 40 minutes.

Sawtell had a chance to level the scores when awarded a penalty close to goal but despite calls from the bench to take the two points, the players chose to go for the try.

The Panthers had repeat sets but were unable to score and the result was decided in the next five minutes when first Buddy Hart then Troy Robinson scored for Orara.

Speed said Robinson's surprise appearance will end up a boost for his team with his football knowledge and game management.

"He's also got that intimidation factor and we're very grateful that he's chosen to come out and play for us," the coach said.

On Saturday Coffs Harbour put the foot down after half time to run away with a comfortable victory.

Nambucca Heads fought well in the first half to trail 16-0 at the break but the Comets took control after that with halfback Nathan Curry the star of he show with four tries to go with his nine conversions.

The Grafton Ghosts continued their march atop the ladder with a local derby victory over South Grafton.

Centre Michael Curnow starred three tries as the Ghosts ran out 34-16 victors.

GROUP 2

First Grade

ORARA VALLEY AXEMEN 26 (AJ Gilbert, Tom Hall, Buddy Hart, Troy Robinson tries; Liam Dunn 5 goals) def SAWTELL PANTHERS 10 (Jenyn Kahu, Austin Cooper tries; Chris Cook goal).

GRAFTON GHOSTS 34 (Michael Curnow 3, Dylan Collett, Cooper Woods, Todd Cameron tries; Cameron 5 goals) def SOUTH GRAFTON REBELS 16 (Ant Skinner 2, Phil Bundock tries; Nic McGrady 2 goals).

COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 58 (Nathan Curry 4, Chad Isles, Miles Fairbank, Kerrod Selmes, Brad Collinson, Steve Spencer, Aiden Te Hiko tries; Curry 9 goals) def NAMBUCCA HEADS ROOSTERS 4 (Josh Jarrett try).

Ladies League Tag

Coffs Harbour def Nambucca Heads 38-0, Sawtell def Orara Valley 28-10, Bellingen def Macksville 26-4, South Grafton def Grafton Ghosts 16-6.



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