Comets claim 18s prize

COFFS Harbour appeared to have the under-18 title sewn up at half-time but were pushed all the way in the second half by Macleay Valley before recording a 38-26 premiership victory.

The Mustangs opened the scoring but the Comets hit back hard and fast, racing in four tries to take a commanding lead.


COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 38 (Macauley Dawson 2, Brandon Lee, Nathan Moran, Nathan Dyson, Nathan Portelli, Glenn Ferguson tries; Lachie Miller 5 goals) def MACLEAY VALLEY MUSTANGS 26 (Jacob Smith, Ryan Notley, Jake Bakker, Jacob Cummins, Ruben Dufty tries; Bakker 3 goals).

For most of the opening stanza Coffs camped at Macleay's end of the ground like the mate who asks to sleep on the couch overnight and is still is there a month later.

It could have been a total thumping, especially after Nathan Portelli scored not long after the break but as Coffs coaches Brendan Moran and Peter Lee realised, the Mustangs would eventually come back into it.

"There is so much talent in both these sides I knew we would be under pressure at some stage," Moran said.

"I'm glad we rattled up those points by half-time as the heat was incredible and took a lot out of the kids."

Three tries to Macleay in the second half had it knocking on the door.

And then Moran and Lee had years taken off their lives when an almost certain try under the posts was disallowed after the player was pulled up centimetres short of the line following a 55-metre bust .

"We might have had it then as I was worried the Kempsey kids were coming back strong," Moran admitted.

A Mustangs try got it within two points but an intercept by Comets half Glenn Ferguson turned the situation and another to Macauley Dawson off a Lachie Miller kick proved the icing on the cake.

"All the kids played their hearts out and I hope the Group has taken notice and rewards them for their efforts," Moran said.

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