Marlins show bite against Cannonballs
WITH two wins in row, the MNC Rugby premiership defence of the SCU Marlins is back on track.
After a slow start to the year the Marlins have moved into the top four courtesy of a 47-28 win over Kempsey on Saturday.
It wasn't all plain sailing, though.
The Marlins led 26-7 at half time before Kempsey piled on three quick tries after the resumption to take a two-point lead.
SCU coach Dwayne Vignes said it was a momentary lapse he'd prefer didn't happen but there's always reasons for these things.
"Kempsey play a very scrappy game. I'm not saying that as a bad thing. They've got some great individual players and they were really a thrown-together side against us," Vignes said.
"We just went off our game plan a bit and didn't put the foot down when we had to. We had them on the ropes and we didn't continue on."
The maturity of the Marlins' leaders shone through though as they helped to steer the young playing group to victory.
Tries to Damion Dumas, Josh Rayner and Jarryd Frank ensured the win and the Vignes said he's in charge of a good group when it comes to their attitude after they've fallen behind on the scoreboard.
"There's still some senior players in there that know what they're doing and it's a matter of just calming everybody down and getting back on track," he said.
"We've got the capability of doing that. Even in last year's grand final we were down 21-0.
"We always know we can score points. It's a matter of us playing the way we want to play and not worrying about the opposition so much."
With a long list of regular first grade players missing, there were several inexperienced players who were promoted into the first grade side.
Vignes said promoting young players was almost a mantra of the Marlins.
"That's what the club has been about since before I was here, it is about giving these young kids a go," he said.
"The structures we've got in place with our junior program is obviously working well so a player comes through and can step up into first grade.
"That's the beauty of the club. That's what they pride themselves on and that's what we'll continue doing."
There were times when it appeared SCU was inviting Kempsey back into the contest with dropped ball in poor field positions.
Vignes said the backline was dangerous and "when it does go it is great" but he said there was room for improvement. Although he's not discouraged in the way the Marlins get the ball to the backs more often than not.
"I just think it's the way that we play. It's going out there and having fun," he said.
"They've just got to execute it a bit more and think about it a bit more when they take those options."
SCU MARLINS 47 (Josh Rayner 2, Jarryd Frank 2, Alex Hunter, Sam Callow, Damion Dumas tries; Rayner 6 conv) def KEMPSEY CANNONBALLS 28 (Braden Farronwell 2, Kini Duavaca 2 tries; Eric Kerr 4 conv).
Grafton def Hastings Valley 53-24
Port Pirates def Wauchope 32-13
SCU Marlins def Kempsey 22-5