The Coffs Breakers went down to the Port Pirates by just three points in a cliffhanger of a game that wasn’t very sweet to watch.
The Coffs Breakers went down to the Port Pirates by just three points in a cliffhanger of a game that wasn’t very sweet to watch. Trevor Veale

Cannonballs get a crushing

COFFS Crushers may have beaten Kempsey 31-15 at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park on Saturday but they took a long time to do it.

The Cannonballs shocked hometown supporters by sticking with their more fancied opponents until well into the second half and it wasn’t until winger Josh Brooks crossed late in the match, to be followed by Brendan Hoy soon after, that captain-coach Craig Landrigan felt the battle had been won.

“I was thankful for the old legs of Brendan Hoy as they showed again how fast they can get moving,” he grinned.

Landrigan agreed fitness and getting the execution right is still a work in progress and there was some hangover remaining from the brutal opening-round encounter with Coffs Breakers.

“Last week took a lot out of us and on top of that, I was forced to make an example of a few blokes who didn’t train,” he remarked.

“But everybody has promised to be at training next Tuesday and we’ll keep working on fitness.”

The Crushers looked cumbersome and moved slowly at the breakdown, causing long delays before the ball went through the hands.

But the coach said this had been part of the early season strategy.

“Our game plan is to slow down at the breakdown to help our big forwards,” Landrigan said.

“It’s hard for them to keep springing off the ground so we need to re-set, then go again.

“There are a lot of attacking ploys, a lot of options in the backline but I’d prefer not to rush everything out at once.”

However, while Crushers seemed to take an eternity to get that win grin, clubmates Coffs Breakers went down narrowly 22-19 to Port Pirates but looked likely to spring an upset all day.

The game was very ugly, exacerbated by Pirates’ lacklustre effort.

A side containing Tom Vallentine, Matt Mane, Tim Platt and city-class fullback Jordan Macey should have toyed with the newly minted Breakers but they only turned on the gas when it suited.

Port scored first to put Coffs in catch-up mode all afternoon but they kept grinding away.

A failed conversion stopped Coffs from pushing the lead to within one point and that’s as close as they got.

The visitors scored late and Coffs hit back straight away but couldn’t create enough field position to launch a final bid for victory.



(Joe Dal Pozzo, Joel Riddle, Brad Henry, Brendan Hoy, Josh Brooks tries; Angus Garland 2, Dave Angus conversions) def KEMPSEY CANNONBALLS 15 (S.Witchard, M.Hoskins tries; M.Scott conversion, penalty).

PORT MACQUARIE PIRATES 22 (Heath Morgan, Daryl Thompson, Scott Pagan tries; Jordan Macey conversion, penalty; Thompson conversion) def COFFS BREAKERS 19 (Brendon Robins, Dwayne Fox, Leith Vaughan tries; Kris Kent, Robins conversions).

Reserve grade: Coffs Rugby def Port Pirates 59-0; Kempsey Cannonballs def SCU Marlins 54-7. Under 19s: Coffs Rugby def Kempsey Cannonballs 40-21.

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