Breakers win keeps dream alive
PREMIER team Coffs Breakers kept their flickering semi-final aspirations alive by downing winless South West Rocks 34-12 at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park on Saturday.
Despite the healthy margin, it was a far from impressive performance and while there’s no suggestion the side underperformed, their lack of experience was only just overshadowed by the battling Gaolers.
The home side received a mountain of possession in the first session which they didn’t always utilise and only held a 10-point margin at the break.
After the half-time rev-up they did start to fully take control and crossed three times, with the Rocks getting their only second-half points from a converted try in the dying stages.
Meanwhile, Coffs Crushers waited too long to make Port Macquarie fight for their victory, eventually going down 36-12 as the Pirates gave notice it will take almost a miracle in 2010 to stop them adding their name to the premiership shield.
Arguably the game slipped away in the period between Port’s second and third tries, when Coffs fell into the trap of playing frantic catch-up football, whereas the Pirates kept pulling back on the reins and engineering a pattern of play more suited to their requirements.
And in the same passage, Breakers’ fortunes hit the skids when nothing they did, from line-out throws to interpretation of the off-side rules, seemed to please the match officials.
“I believe whether the calls are good or bad, it’s up to the team to lift every time and overcome that,” captain-coach Craig Landrigan remarked.
“We have to move on and actually dominate the play again.”
Landrigan agreed the Pirates managed to set the pace by maintaining the attitude of control freaks and his side played right into their hands with a slow getaway.
To their credit Crushers kept persisting and while they broke the stranglehold late in the match, the bird had flown.
“Pirates are where they want to be at this time of year, while we’re not quite there,” Landrigan said.
“That last half hour we slowly turned the game around and made inroads and showed where we have to be every week from the start of the game. The two tries late in the match looked fantastic and showed what our potential is.”
Somewhat frustrated by his side’s ability to get over-enthusiastic when settled play might achieve better results, the coach is working on getting his men to concentrate on their undisputed strengths.