Quick recycled ball from scrum half Brendan Hoy will be vital for Coffs Crushers today.
Quick recycled ball from scrum half Brendan Hoy will be vital for Coffs Crushers today.

Coffs rivals' finals struggle

THIS afternoon’s double header at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park sees both the Coffs Crushers and the Coffs Breakers face season- defining encounters.

On Field 1 at 2.45pm the Coffs Crushers have a chance to significantly close the gap on the second placed Hastings Valley. On Field 2 at the same time the Coffs Breakers can entrench themselves in a finals position if they can overcome Kempsey Cannonballs.

The Crushers endured a close call last week against the winless South West Rocks but captain-coach Craig Landrigan has shown plenty of faith in his squad by sticking with almost the exact same team.

This means that Landrigan is opting for youth in some vital positions as evidenced by the selection of centres Matt Spence and Josh Rayner ahead of some other experienced players.

With Matt Joyce and Cameron Wainright out of the front row, the captain-coach has also opted to play young guns Daniel Wilson and Daniel Redman up front to help prop up man mountain Joel Riddle.

If Crushers can win this afternoon it will sit just a few points behind Hastings. This would set up a mouth-watering last round game of the season in six weeks time to see who can finish in second position and grab the vital double chance come finals time.

Hastings are coming off a narrow 28-24 win over Coffs Breakers and the Vikings struggled immensely in the second half a week ago.

No doubt this will give the Crushers plenty of confidence heading into today’s clash.

Another source of confidence could come if Landrigan’s men can shut down Hastings Valley’s key players. It is no secret that the Vikings rely heavily on three or four of their best players to do the majority of the work, especially their front row and rep players in jersey numbers 9, 10 and 15.

The Breakers not only need a win against Kempsey to virtually wrap up fourth position but it also needs to break a concerning pattern that is emerging in 2010.

The team is sick of the ‘oh so close’ response at the end of the game with five losses this season by less than six points and it’s a habit they need to get rid of as the finals approach.

Most of the time the losses are due to simple lapses in concentration that the Breakers are paying for dearly.

Again last week against Hastings Valley Dylan Hurley’s men let in four soft tries five minutes either side of half time. If they can get on top early they should start beating some of their more fancied rivals who have had the wood on last year’s premiers in 2010.

This afternoon the Breakers will again be without the services of fly half Brendan Robins but importantly hooker Kelvin Rushworth rejoins the team.

The Breakers are still talking about making second position at the end of the season. If it is to do so the team needs to easily account for opponents like Kempsey who it is expected to beat.

To reach second the Breakers can only afford to drop a maximum of one match in the remaining seven matches.

TODAY’S TEAMS

Coffs Crushers XV v Hastings Valley

15. David Angus-Crouch, 14. Rod Deighton, 13. Josh Rayner, 12. Matt Spence, 11. Josh Brooks, 10. Richard Officer, 9. Brendan Hoy, 8. Craig Landrigan, 7. Vilise Vatuvili, 6. David Kikau, 5. James Donnelly, 4. Brad Henry, 3. Daniel Wilson, 2. Daniel Redman, 1. Joel Riddle.

Coffs Breakers XV v Kempsey

15. Steve Hackett, 14. Sheldon Phillips, 13. Kris Kent, 12. Dwayne Fox, 11. Justin Duncan, 10. Pete Shaw, 9. Dylan Hurley, 8. Chris McDonough, 7. Chris Jones, 6. Toby Jackson, 5. James Bellamy, 4. John Korff, 3. Lachlan Chubb, 2. Kelvin Rushworth, 1. Adam Dunworth.MNC RUGBY TABLE

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

BP

Pts

Port Pirates

9

9

-

-

321

84

6

51

Hastings Vikings

9

7

-

2

223

166

5

42

Coffs Crushers

9

6

-

3

114

148

1

35

Coffs Breakers

9

2

1

6

166

195

7

26

Kempsey Cannonballs

9

2

1

6

138

214

1

20

SWR Gaolers

9

-

-

9

82

198

2

10



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