Rebels pushed but prove too strong for Comets
TWO late tries painted a prettier scoreline for reigning premier South Grafton than what the reality was.
While the Rebels were ahead on the scoreboard for most of the opening match of the season, the fact was Coffs harbour was in with a faint sniff of a come from behind victory late before the Rebels put the foot in the pedal in the dying moments to win 40-22.
Halfback Kayan Davis used his pace to advantage to score a hat-trick for the Rebels who led by 12 points at the break.
It was a battle of two large packs and the experienced Rebels trio of Xavier Sullivan, former NRL player Daine Laurie and captain Grant Stevens got the points over Matt Cheeseman, Kyle Sampson and Jorge Fairbanks but only just.
A major difference between the two teams was ball control.
The Comets had the lion's share of possession but couldn't take advantage due to dropped or fumbled ball at crucial stages.
"Just silly, silly juniors football. That's all it was," Comets captain-coach Kerrod Selmes lamented.
"You shouldn't be forcing those offloads. We've got a pack where we can roll forward so we just don't need to push that."
Stevens said the fact the Rebels were able to stay in the match early when it had its back to the wall was the most pleasing part of today's win.
"In the first 20 minutes of the game we had 30% of the football," Stevens said.
"So just grinding things away and ending up coming out on top after that 20 minutes. We ended up scoring two tries to their one in the first 20."
In other matches today, Sawtell was too strong for Woolgoolga in the second half to run away with a 32-12 victory while Macksville was too strong for Bellingen winning 42-20.
Last night the Grafton Ghosts were cleaner when in possession than Nambucca Heads and it laid the platform for a strong 54-20 result.
SOUTH GRAFTON 40 (Kayan Davis 3, Austin Cooper 2, Keiran Stewart, Luke Welch tries; Aaron Taylor 6 goals) def COFFS HARBOUR 22 (Scott Street 2, Michael Hart, Daneil Donovan tries; Nathan Curry 3 goals).