EIGHT minutes from the end of Saturday’s clash with Hastings Valley and after finally hitting the lead, Coffs Breakers looked momentarily like they might pull off an amazing escape from defeat.
But the side went back to sleep and reverted to the mistake-riddled play which blighted their prior performance and a late scoring spree finally gave the visitors a deserved 27-22 victory.
Rarely have so many errors been made in one half of football as Breakers made at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park.
One of the blunders included a kick for line from half way which somehow managed to run all the way down the ground and leave the sidelines laughing as it dribbled over the northern dead ball line, at no stage leaving the field of play.
The sight of so many mishaps forced coach Ciaron Dunn to change his viewing position three times and for the final moments he was left nervously stalking the sideline.
“When we hit the front I was somewhat relieved but nervous as well,” he said.
“That’s kinda where we’re at ... as a group we’re good enough to win but we’re not good enough to know we can win ... simple as that.”
The reason the Vikings prevailed was twofold and very basic.
When they had the football in hand the attacking shape of their backline was well-defined and always hostile.
And when they lost possession, the switch to defensive mode was almost instinctive and very, very effective.
Breakers trailed 17-3 early in the second half and looked destined for a thrashing.
Then, as if by magic they decided to turn on a faultless 20-minute period which created the comeback.
Breakers hit the front with a try scored by Dwayne Fox that included two freakish passes which had jaws dropping and whispers of ‘how did they manage that’ going all over the ground.
Unfortunately, that woke Vikings up again and while final tries were exchanged, the fleeting hopes of the home side were eventually washed away.
“I’ve seen enough to know we can do a lot better,” Dunn remarked.
“It’s not like we’re getting beaten as such, it’s more like we keep finding ways to lose games.
“Still, I don’t have to make the tackles and I’m not hurting as much as the boys are.”
Despite the loss, Dunn still managed to keep things in perspective.
“I’m only 30 and I’ve got grey hair,” he laughed.
While the loss leaves the side hovering on the edge of the top four there were more than a handful of positives signs from the game including the rapid improvement being made by rookie forward, Abayasankar Sundram.
The youngster is only light for the engine room but is developing into arguably the best line-out jumper in the competition and is totally reckless and fearless in defence.
FIRST GRADE: Hastings Valley Vikings def Coffs Breakers 27-22.
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Bowraville Goannas def SCU Marlins 21-5