Coffs outgun Port Macquarie 16-4
COFFS Harbour lifted when it counted in the second half to outgun battling Port Macquarie 16-4 at Advocate Park yesterday.
A dogged opening session almost reached stalemate before Matt Donovan opened the scoring in the 39th minute.
Coffs Harbour coach Warren Gilkinson said there’d been no surprise about lapses in execution considering the condition of the playing field following heavy overnight rain.
The players would also have been aware that the outcome was of no consequence as there was no way they could be shifted from the play-offs.
“It was one of those days you come out and do the job, then get out of the place,” Gilkinson said.
“We went okay in the first part by holding them to nil, but I guess a few tries went missing later in the slippery conditions.
“We’ll still be ready for next week.”
Sharks captain-coach Michael Bright revealed he’d been incorrectly told playing the game wasn’t necessary and he’d pulled players from everywhere to make it to the starting line.
He even dragged in brothers Paul and Luke Chaplin who played for Hastings Vikings in last weekend’s rugby decider to make up the numbers and there was some mirth when Luke (on the wing) rolled a ball back between his legs, rugby style.
Referee Nathan Grace, himself a rugby player with Bowraville Goannas, vetoed a penalty for the breach and set the inevitable scrum.
“Once we knew the game was going ahead there was no question we wouldn’t make it,” Bright said.
“All we had was a touch session to prepare, but I think we went all right.
“After struggling for numbers it was always going to count against us toward the end of the match.”
Veteran half Jeremy Lang tried bravely for the Sharks, his kicks, cut-out passes and switches in direction causing problems for the Comets.
However, the Comets eventually picked up their act and the angles they’ve been running at training were put into practice, causing the Sharks’ defence to become unbalanced and as the gaps opened wider, the home side drove right through.
“Once we get onto a dry paddock we’ll be fine,” Gilkinson said.
“Next Saturday we’ll have a lot of surprises up our sleeves when we take on Macksville.”