Crusaders set for grand final battle
COFFS Harbour's 'miracle' team has done it again and are now the toast of the town.
The Coffs Crusaders Under 12s are into the District Junior Rugby Grand Final on September 5 after downing Bishop Druitt College 31-0 in the semi-final played at Park Beach Plaza Rugby Park.
Their opponent will be the winner of this week's semi featuring Bellingen and Dorrigo.
Coached by Matt Leonard and Scott Mieni, the team is made up of school mates from St Augustine's Primary and the story of their rapid climb from obscurity has captured the imagination of the local rugby community.
By the close of the 2007 competition, the boys had suffered some enormous losses with their best result going down by 'only' 35 points and they had to wait for the final match to score their only try of the season.
This time, the turnaround has been dramatic and steady progress has brought them to the brink of an amazing achievement.
“When full-time sounded the place just erupted,” Mieni said.
“All the parents and supporters are really proud of the boys and as coaches, Matt and I both think it's fantastic.”
After scorching away to a handy lead by the break, the team took their foot off the pedal.
“They'll have to watch that in the grand final but whatever happens will be terrific,” Mr Mieni said.