Tight win for Dolphins
THEY cut it mighty fine but Far North Coast continued their Observer Trophy hoodoo over Mid North Coast with a 24-22 victory at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park on Saturday.
As time ticked away, the locals made one last surge when flanker Kris Kent launched a desperate bid to score what could have been the winning touchdown in the corner but despite the appearance of some interference just short of the line, referee Andrew Birch couldn’t be convinced.
The whistleblower had already dabbled in controversy by awarding a penalty try to the home side which mystified even the Axemen’s staunchest supporters.
However, the Dolphins deserved to prevail, having been arguably the more industrious side for the lion’s share of an enthralling match.
Winning coach John Jenkins maintained his lads should never have put themselves in a position to receive a scare in the dying stages.
“We were very scrappy and should have scored more tries,” he remarked.
“In our support play we tried to push the pass instead of recycling the ball and trying to get structure into our game and while I think that comes from not being able to get together enough before the game, the structures were there before they gathered.”
The Axemen received a flood of early possession but the best they could do to post first points was boot a penalty.
After a period when everything bogged down into a midfield arm wrestle, Chris Tout found a gap on half way and Jordan Macey hared across to register a converted try for an early 10-0 lead.
Far North Coast hit back with their own penalty and converted try to level scores and with another try before the break gave every indication they’d cruise ahead following the resumption.
But again it all bogged down into 1918-style trench warfare and with the penalty try awarded to make it 17-all, a sniff of an upset was momentarily in the air.
“I was pleased we hit back again so quickly after that ... we may have clinched the game at that point,” Jenkins said.
The Dolphins won a scrum near half way and with nothing much on offer, the ball was sent straight to open spaces with a try resulting on the fourth pass.
Again, the Axemen rallied with a five-pointer to Kent but after his second attempt to cross went awry, time quickly ran out.
Big Coffs Crushers back-rower Joel Riddle had a powerful game for Mid North Coast, with the visitors managing to raise an extra effort whenever he was off the field.
On the other hand, Jordan Macey’s kicking game was well off target and at crucial stages instead of sending the ball in the direction of the touch line, he put it right down the field.