Ghosts' wet sail finish spooks Comets
TEN minutes from the final siren the Coffs Harbour supporters celebrating Old Boys Day on top of the viewing platform were in full cry.
The Comets led Grafton by 16 points and looked certain to upset the minor premiers.
Following the hooter there was only glum silence in the stands as Todd Cameron piloted the winning conversion after his side had piled on three tries in the dying stages for an astonishing 30-28 victory.
For some reason the Comets have developed a fetish for late fades and while they escaped with a draw when it happened last week against Orara Valley there was no happy ending this time and coach Brandon Costin is seeking an answer.
"We've proved we can't go 80 minutes," he said.
"Two weeks in a row we play good footy and there must be something in there where we get cocky and almost like we stop respecting the opposition enough.
"Then you fall into errors and let them back in the game."
In the first 20 minutes, the Comets played the sweetest, most perfect football and were soon up 12-0.
The Ghosts lacked timing at the start and slowly began showing the home side if you take an early lead, it has to be protected and built upon.
A Blake Winmill try early in the second half got Grafton started but Coffs came back with a pair of touchdowns.
Some funny things happened including the explosion of a match ball in front of fullback Cooper Woods and a brain fade from a scrum win close to the Coffs line that ended with the worst pass thrown all day, making it look momentarily like the visitors had run out of gas.
Instead it was the Comets who foundered as visiting centre Dylan Collett stamped his mark on the game with a pair of four-pointers to drag his side to four points behind with five minutes on the clock.
Adam Slater was the last to go across with the siren sounding and scores level.
Todd Cameron's fifth goal sealed the section and when asked if the comeback had surprised, winning captain-coach Danny Wicks was nonchalant.
"No, I'm not shocked," he said.
"More relieved than anything after things started going our way.
"We lost our shape early with about 40 per cent completion and sides like Coffs make you pay for that.
"Early they may have spooked us but we were able to re-evaluated and get back on track."
Grafton now have two weeks off until hosting the major semi and the fast finish means Wicks isn't daunted by the break.
"If we'd lost I would have been pouring the work into them but that great second half means we can afford to relax slightly.
"There are a couple of small injuries as well that will benefit by a let-up."