ON THE UP: The Nambucca side beaten 36-0 by Coffs in April has turned its season around.
ON THE UP: The Nambucca side beaten 36-0 by Coffs in April has turned its season around. Leigh Jensen

Coach believes his Roosters are starting to crow

IN THE past few weeks, coach Peter Barrett has seen his young Nambucca Heads Roosters sprout wings and fly.

Barrett admits he was fairly patient and lenient at the start of the year and forgave a few moments of inexperience but that has changed as the football unit has grown in confidence and skill.

"To be truthful, they keep me sane and it's really interesting to be around this playing group," he said.

"They will be a different side against Coffs Harbour today than the one that was a bit aimless in the first round and that's come through a fresh culture that helped them gel together.

"I can also rely on a more mature bench with the reserve grade boys stepping up.

"It took a fair while for them to learn what it's all about but that's understandable after starting from scratch."

Technically, Nambucca came off a grand final appearance to start this season but the reality was having a year out of the competition meant a totally new beginning.

There were early floggings from the Comets and Ghosts but the year turned on a 24-all draw with Macksville that has since led to strong wins against Sawtell and Orara Valley.

"Everybody is a local, apart from my one Kiwi, Jay Melrose, and what a player he is," Barrett said.

"Unlike most of the other teams, not an English or French accent to be heard at training.

"Getting combinations going has been a key and while there's still a long way to go, the boys are working hard, getting to training and getting results."

Experienced Edgar Cowell has helped groom fellow half Jai Waddy, while skipper Matt Field and brother Brad are playing exception football in the forwards.

"I also reckon my fullback Zac Sheppard is the best in Group," the coach added.

"They are all like a band of brothers.

"They grew up together and get along well.

"We're on the verge of making the semis after starting out with next to nothing and it will be a credit to these blokes as to how far I think they can go.

"I have faith in them."

Round 9 matches
3pm - Nambucca Heads v Coffs Harbour at Coronation Park (Referee: Ray Pettit)
2.30pm - Orara Valley v Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo at Coramba Sportsground (Referee: Lloyd Lynwood)
2.45pm: Sawtell v Grafton at Rex Hardaker Oval (Referee: Craig Craigie)
2.45pm - South Grafton v Macksville at McKittrick Park (Referee: Nathan Grace)

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