Coffs United players celebrate winning another men’s first division grand final.
Coffs United players celebrate winning another men’s first division grand final. Trevor Veale

Lions win back-to-back titles

COFFS United did not allow Urunga to settle into its usual pattern of play and the pressure took its toll in the season decider with the Lions running out 4-1 winners to claim back-to-back first division titles.

The Lions had two weeks to prepare for Saturday night's grand final at BCU International Stadium and captain Sam Mackay said that it was time spent well.

"They (Urunga) had been to a lot of our games videoing us and they worked out a plan and they played it against us in the major semi," Mackay said.

"We knew their tactics this time, we worked on it and we were confident that we were going to do it.

"Player for player I think that we're better so as long as we matched their intensity we were going to get there."

Coffs United was given a dream start when it went ahead within two minutes of the start of play when Nathan Silvy scored from the penalty spot after Nick Lambert was brought down in the box.

Mackay said that being on the receiving end of such a good start was a sin that Urunga could've avoided.

"It was just immature from their back line, they're very young in the backs and that was something we focussed on but it was a very silly tackle," he said.

"Nick was going nowhere."

Despite dominating the opening 45 minutes, the Lions only led 1-0 at the break but Mackay said there was no panic within the camp during the interval.

The Lions have had made a habit of scoring late goals against Uranga this season and the belief that a similar scenario would play out in the grand final had the squad feeling relaxed at half-time.

When Mackay ran down the right side five minutes after the resumption and put in a cross that found Lambert at the far post for a volleyed goal, the confidence levels rose again.

With 20 minutes remaining Lambert turned provider after his solo run saw the ball spill free to an unmarked Anthony Wiseman to make the scoreline 3-0 and put the result beyond doubt.

Soon after Ben Mackay was brought down in the box as he challenged for a header and the referee awarded a second penalty to the Lions which Silvy duly slotted again to stretch the margin to four goals.

Urunga managed to score a late consolation goal when the referee saw a handball from a Lions defender in Urunga's box.

Jaxen Heward took the penalty shot and scored.

Raiders skipper Ben Dooley said that the result was a disappointing one but paid full credit to Coffs United for limiting the time and space that he and his teammates were allowed to operate in.

"We were under a lot of pressure and a lot of mistakes cost us in the end," Dooley said.

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