THERE was no fairytale finish for the Coffs Crusaders Under 12s who went down in their rugby grand final 41-12 to Dorrigo.
The young Coffs players had captured the imagination of the local rugby world after finishing winless at the end of 2007, before finding their groove under co-coaches Matt Leonard and Scott Mieni and making it through to the season decider.
Dorrigo were top team all year and proved their excellence by crossing for seven tries in their last outing with the forwards setting the platform with a high standard of defence.
But the Coffs coaches are just as proud of what their youngsters have achieved.
“They are a great mob of kids who've enjoyed the year and by working on their discipline and respect, it pulled us through,” Mieni said.
“The Dorrigo lads are a great team and they blew us off the park with 29 points in the last ten minutes.
“Naturally, the boys were disappointed but you know what kids are like ... within 15 minutes they were back to normal and happy again.
“They see all that emotion on TV in Test matches and Origin football and don't realise how significant the experience is until it happens to them.”
Mieni believes the team will stick together next year and the experience gained will make them an awesome outfit.