Moral victory for both sides
BOTH coaches claimed a moral victory after Macksville and Coffs Harbour fought out a sometimes thrilling 22-22 draw at Allen Gillett Oval yesterday.
Warren Gilkinson of the Comets and suspended Sea Eagles skipper Grant Coleman could each make a case why his side didn't get the full allocation of points but the reality is, both teams threw away their opportunity after throwing caution to the wind in the final 14 minutes.
Macksville started with precision by completing their sets and were up 12-0 almost before the visitors realised the match had started.
Apart from an adverse 4-1 penalty count the first half was near flawless and in a perfect world the Sea Eagles would have run out comfortable winners.
“It all went wrong and probably not all our fault,” Coleman said.
“Things just got away from us.”
For the umpteenth week in a row, Gilkinson was forced to give his underperforming charges a halftime tongue lashing and while the same 13 players reappeared after the break, the mindset was noticeably improved.
“Training is the problem and I'm sick of it, so there may have to be some changes,” he said.
“They are supposed to be first grade footballers and I haven't been able to get the same squad to turn up together for probably the last six weeks and that's why they start so bad.”
Two quick Coffs tries levelled the scores but Macksville came back to take the lead.
Again, Coffs drew level and that's when the tempo of the match went into overdrive.
In fact, the tempo went stupid and the attacking raids went up and down, back and forth, relentlessly from one end to the other.
Like 26 robots supercharged by red cordial, the players turned on a furious attacking adventure which featured handling errors galore, the sin-binning of Troy Robinson and Michael Tyerman after a heated scrap, bombed tries and missed field goals.
It might have looked spectacular but for winning a footy match, that pattern of play is futile.
As usual, the referee (David Dunn) will get the blame for no clear winner but if one single player in either team had realised the motors needed to be slowed down and clear and patient direction given, it would almost certainly have been a different score to put in the book.
“We have plans to use when scores get locked up like that but they all went mad in the middle,” Gilkinson admitted.
“When we put it together we can beat any side in the comp but we've blown it today.
“Three weeks from now we play each other in a semi but have to come down here again to do it and it's our own fault.”