The final score belied the scintillating nature of this clash between Crushers and Cannonballs.
The final score belied the scintillating nature of this clash between Crushers and Cannonballs.

Crushers find form

BIG scores normally indicate a boring spectacle but Coffs Crushers’ 75-22 conquest of Kempsey Cannonballs on the weekend was a bottler.

With the canine spectacular forcing a transfer from Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park to John Paul College, this afternoon of sport was always destined to offer something different and for the first half at least, the Cannonballs shrugged off their reputation for spoiling tactics.

With 10 players backing up from lower grades they were never going to win once the well of enthusiasm ran dry but instead of meek capitulation, threw the Gilbert around as well as the home side to post three superb tries and only be down 17-26 by intermission.

Faced with that sort of enterprise, Crushers captain-coach Craig Landrigan duly delivered the mandatory wake-up call.

“We lost our way a bit at the start but always knew the best method way to meet these guys was with structured play and unfortunately there wasn’t much of that to begin with,” he said.

“I told our forwards to stop off-loading and take a few to ground so we could bring it back to phase play.

“In the end they did that and it was the major factor that set us on our way to getting across the line.”

Within two minutes of the resumption David Kikau was across and this set up the steady procession to the try line for the remainder of the day.

He and loose forward partner-in-crime Vilese Vatuvili couldn’t be contained, with their power running and tackle-busting ability too much of a handful for the Cannonballs.

“They hit the line, they squirm in the tackle and their combination is unreal,” Landrigan agreed.

“In full flight they are second to none in the zone.”

Creating structure also increased the opportunities for speedy youngsters Matt Spence and Josh Rayner with their rapid progress in the 15-a-side looming as another potent weapon when time comes to issue the full-blooded challenge to the Hastings clubs.

In the case of Port Pirates, if they’re not already hearing the thundering hooves over their shoulders they should be now after Coffs Breakers went within a whisker of ending their unbeaten trot during a southern sojourn.

Only one converted try was in it as Pirates ground out an eventual 40-33 victory with the outcome in jeopardy until the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Hastings Valley was too good for South West Rocks.

MNC Rugby Results

First grade

Coffs Crushers 75 (Vilese Vatuvili 3, Karnunny Pearce 2, David Angus-Crouch, Brendan Hoy, David Kikau, Josh Rayner, Matt Spence, Joel Riddle, Josh Brooks, Matt Quirk tries; Angus Garland 4, Angus-Crouch conversions) def Kempsey Cannonballs 22 (Matt Carter 2, Coree Gale, Brad Booth tries; Todd Giddy conversion).

Port Macquarie Pirates 40 def Coffs Breakers 33.

Hastings Valley Vikings 55 def South West Rocks Gaolers 7.

Second grade

Bowraville Goannas 28 def Hastings Valley 24.

SCU Marlins 31 def Kempsey 28.

Coffs Crabs 28 def Port Macquarie 12.

Under 19s

South West Rocks 24 def Hastings Valley 20.

Coffs Rugby and Kempsey drew 17-all.



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