LINE OF ATTACK: If Coffs Rugby is to outplay Port Pirates it needs a better share of possession from the lineouts than what has arrived so far this season.
LINE OF ATTACK: If Coffs Rugby is to outplay Port Pirates it needs a better share of possession from the lineouts than what has arrived so far this season. Leigh Jensen

Pirates threat

DANGER awaits Coffs Rugby in today's major semi-final at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park.

A loss by the home team to Port Macquarie will not only send the season decider to the furthest extremity of the zone, but tip the battle of minds towards the Pirates.

In three meetings, Coffs won 24-12 at Stuart Park, escaped with a lucky 24-all draw in a night catch-up at Rugby Park, before losing narrowly 34-29 at the same venue two weeks ago.

Coffs displayed some glaring vulnerabilities in that meeting and will need to be switched on today.

"The guys will take a different approach into the game to what we have displayed lately," captain Paul Butcher said.

"It has been the best we have trained all season. We are fit and mentally ready."

Butcher knows the Pirates are confident of victory, after catching Coffs below their best.

"That was also the case last year, but coach Geoff Mould always has a few surprises up his sleeve," Butcher said.

"We will utilise the services of bench players like Vile Vatuvili and Waqa Yaya to complement the team.

"Who knows?

"Even club stalwart Brendan Hoy could be a late starter from the bench.

"Ultimately we know we can create plenty of scoring opportunities but will need to convert them," Butcher said.

The big advantage for Coffs is its giant forward pack and if it can trap the visitors into playing a pure rugby style, there's the likelihood of a bright and breezy ending.

But Pirates have star half Sam McNeil driving the team and a lot of their spark comes from veteran fullback Tim Platt. There's a critical need for Coffs to shut both dangermen down, quickly and often.

TODAY'S TEAMS

Coffs Rugby

15 K Kent, 14 M Spence, 13 J Freeman, 12 A Keene, 11 P Shaw, 10 S McVicar, 9 L Poole, 8 M Kama, 7 AJ McLauchlan, 6 P Butcher, 5 C Tonks, 4 C Landrigan, 3 N Joyce, 2 C Wainwright, 1 C Pow. Coach: Geoff Mould

Port Pirates

15 T Platt, 14 R Owens, 13 J Law, 12 R Dodunski, 11 D Byrnes, 10 S McNeil, 9 T Boyle, 8 C Geary, 7 J Rabbidge, 6 G Keighley, 5 S Atkinson, 4 L Webb, 3 J Brigden, 2 L Bassett, 1 G Lee. Coach: Marc Minor



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