Comets to clash with Sawtell
FOUR wins on the trot may have some teams looking over their shoulder for the charging Coffs Harbour but until the Comets can claim a big scalp there are still question marks regarding their premiership credentials.
Starting tomorrow Coffs Harbour face a month against all of the other teams in the final five.
Beating some of their higher credentialed opponents will make the Comets a feared entity come finals time.
Saying it and doing it are two different things though.
It’s a task that Coffs Harbour coach Warren Gilkinson thinks his team is more than capable of completing.
“I said to the boys during the week that all the wins that we’ve had before, they can go out the window,” Coffs Harbour coach Warren Gilkinson said.
“If we can get over this one I think we can win the next two and then we’ve got a bye.”
The problem for Gilkinson and his momentum building men though is getting over this one.
Coffs Harbour has won only four of their last 15 matches against Sawtell.
When these two arch rivals met in the opening round of the season the Panthers waltzed away with a 42-28 win that they didn’t expect, despite being the reigning premiers.
Gilkinson is happy to forget that day and instead focus on the positives that have come from his team now playing a full round of matches together.
“They (Sawtell) still had some very good combinations with what they had and we were still learning,” he said.
“We had a lot of different combinations of people who hadn’t played together because we had eight new blokes in the side.”
The Comets will be fielding another new player tomorrow when surfer turned footballer Madison Williams makes his first grade debut on the wing.
When Sawtell coach Rohan Loudon looks back on the clash at the start of the season there’s one aspect of that win that he’d love his team to recapture at Rex Hardaker Oval.
“We need the same intensity which we played with in that first game,” Loudon said.
“We haven’t had that since we played Coffs so hopefully we can start a lot better.
“We were slow to start against Bello and it was 22-16 at half time. Then we won 44-0 in the second half so we just need to start better and then stay with it.”
Both teams will take to the field nice and fresh after enjoying having the long weekend off.
Sawtell may be even fresher as they had the bye the week before that.
Such a break may also mean that the reigning premiers are more than a little rusty.
It’s not the rust that Loudon is worried about though. It’s that team that has him looking over his shoulder.
“They’ll be good, they’re on a roll and have won four in a row,” he said.
“They’ll be super keen so it should be a good game but it always is I suppose.”