Sensational Snappers in a day for the ageless
ALL that youthful enthusiasm was a clear factor in Coffs Harbour's amazing 21-14 grand final victory over Hastings Valley.
It followed the trend set by the Snappers' cross town rivals SCU Marlins in 2017 when their young guns rolled the unfortunate Vikings and means rugby on the Coffs Coast is going to be strong and health well into the future.
But what of the Coffs veterans who helped capture the first premiership for the club since 2011?
Prop James Bellamy, centre Matt Spence and captain Joe De Dassel have been there a few years now but are still young men with years left in the game and are far from the senior stage.
While they won't admit it, the clock is ticking for genial custodian Kris Kent and big-hearted second-rower Craig Landrigan who has had several retirements and stints as a co-coach but puts this particular game down as extra special.
"I have a nine-year-old son who has started playing rugby and that's the reason I came back after two years off,” Landrigan said.
"It's the greatest feeling to know he is watching me play and brings tears to my eyes.
"I'll be telling the story of today for a long time to come.”
Landrigan said part of the game plan was to turn the tables on the Vikings by acting in ways the southerners were known to specialise.
"Vikings are so quick in that first 20 metres and we were able to use that against them and turn defence into attack.
"We all took a front foot approach, took them on and turned them back.”
Meanwhile, Kent had a field day fetching balls out the back and creeping up into the line to cause unexpected surprises.
"We struggled mid-season but always stayed solid,” he said.
"To come out and do that... well, I've lost one (grand final) and now won two and the feeling is awesome.
"In that first 20 minutes our plan was to throw everything at them.
"Later in the game there was a lot of fatigue but we had the breeze behind us and were always going to keep lifting and when the second wind came, we were ready to back ourselves.”
There was a dramatic moment when star stand-off Zac Cross was injured but after being taken to hospital the news arrived later he'd been cleared of anything major.
Hastings never gave up and were still dangerous up to the point where Brannon Murray scooted over to turn the match firmly in Coffs' favour.
The home side did score again but the clock beat them