Coach delivers on premiership demand made year ago
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Group 2 grand final win for the Coffs Harbour Comets took more than just 80 minutes of football on Sunday.
In fact, it was kick-started at the bar of a notable Coffs Harbour watering hole almost 12 months ago.
Comets club president Steve Gooley met with future coach Brandon Costin with a offer to coach the Coffs Harbour club and only one demand - he had to win a premiership.
"He said he wanted a premiership this season,” Costin said after the game. "He told me, 'this will likely be my last season and I want to go out with the premiership'.
"I am so happy that we had a plan in place and it came together. It's one thing to win a grand final, it's another, even better, thing to watch a 12-month plan come good.”
Costin became the oldest playing coach in CRL history to clinch a first grade premiership at 46, but he said the plan was to break that record next season.
"You're a long time dead really. While I still can, I want to keep playing with these boys,” he said. "We have got some players that are that good that you don't notice what the other players are doing, and each week it is a different standout. It's been great.”
Costin was not intially playing in the first grtade outfit this season, but after realising the full 80 minutes was draining champion dummy-half Kerrod Selmes, he brought himself on to the bench to give the general a break.
The move worked to perfection with Selmes lifting his game over the finals series and collecting the 'Tank' McKay Memorial Medal for player of the grand final.
"When he is not in this side we are rudderless,” Costin said. "I couldn't have picked a better bloke for the award.”
The Comets coach was quick to praise grand final opposition Macksville, who refused to lie down in the 30-14 decider at Geoff King Motors Oval.
"What a good young football side they are. They finished fifth and just grew and grew with confidence throughout the year,” he said.
"They are too young, too fit and too energetic. They never gave up and I thought Cam Blair was outstanding for them in the finals.”
A wily playmaker, at 35 Blair had initially planned to hang up the boots after the grand final, but that plan might have changed.
"Playing in front of my family and with these great young blokes makes me think of having another year and in the next couple of weeks we'll talk about it and make a final decision,” Blair said after the loss.