Both rugby locals into play-offs
COFFS Rugby made certain of the Mid North Coast zone minor premiership with today's 57-14 defeat of Kempsey.
But the reigning premiers need to work on their basics if they are to beat Port Pirates at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park next Saturday and ensure the title defence is made on home soil.
Too often the match became nothing more than touch football, particularly in the second half.
It was only in the first 10 minutes the home side used their forward power to work over the Cannonballs.
They didn't stretch out the phases and possession died due to hanging on too long.
When the ball was sent through the hands the passes showed panic, were misdirected or thrown for the sake of being thrown.
Coach Geoff Mould stressed he wasn't undervaluing a win by such a convincing margin but said he was seeking a more traditional rugby performance against Pirates so that the season doesn't end in underachievement.
"To be candid I can't say I'm happy despite the margin," he said.
"Kempsey's fundamental handling was far better than our fellows.
"I've been saying the same things over and over and it's possible my expectations are far greater."
To illustrate his point, Mould was displeased little use was made of the blustery sou-easter that would have helped with field position in the first half.
"Instead we kicked into the gale twice in the second and almost handed them a couple of tries," he grimaced.
Meanwhile, Southern Cross University will head south to take on Hastings Valley next weekend in the elimination semi final despite today's 21-14 away loss to South West Rocks.
The Marlins were not expected to win with half the side missing through injury and the lower grades spread between Port Macquarie and Bowraville.
Coach Dave Nicol even made a cameo at fly half and was overjoyed to be level-pegging 7-7 at the break.
"Shall we say, a couple of elderly grey-haired gents arrived in time to make up the numbers and we managed to get to the end of the game okay," he quipped.
"Understandably, we didn't clean out all that well but that will be fixed by the time we take on Vikings.
"During the second half we got it together and I was really pleased with the effort.
"With the full side back in when next we play there will be a real quality effort."
COFFS RUGBY 57 (M Kama V Vatuvili L Devery M Joyce K Kent A Keene S McVicar P Shaw W Yaya tries P Butcher 6 conversions) bt KEMPSEY CANNONBALLS 14 (T Hiramatsu 2 tries K Waters 2 conversions)
South West Rocks Gaolers bt Southern Cross University Marlins 21-14
Port Macquarie Pirates bt Hastings Valley Vikings 23-13
Coffs Harbour Crabs received forfeit from Kempsey
Hastings Valley bt Port Macquarie 20-11
Bowraville bt SCU (no score available)
Coffs Harbour bt Kempsey 25-15
Port Macquarie received forfeit from SCU
Deferred match between Port and SCU - declared a draw