Snappers and Marlins brought back to earth by rugby defeats
STAYING alert and being the hungriest dog in the fight were the reasons why Kempsey edged out Coffs Harbour 17-15 at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park today.
The Cannonballs were by far the better side and thoroughly deserved their victory.
However, the Snappers might still have claimed the points had the side shown more urgency and the ball handling not been so appalling.
Co-coach Rob Waddy was left lamenting the third loss this season by five points or less but is adamant his men can still fight their way back into premiership contention.
"The start was ordinary but we came back well at the end," he said.
"If we'd been able to maintain pressure instead of losing focus it would have been alright.
"Unfortunately the handling wasn't much good and continually let us down."
Kempsey got off to a dream start.
Coffs Harbour was pressuring their line but the last pass for a try was snatched out of thin air by Mitchell Baldwin who sprinted 95 metres to score.
Then, Kempsey scored a second converted try and the penalty just before the break that took the score to 17-0 signalled the writing was on the wall and the Snappers were in real trouble.
At this point they turned down a simple penalty shot from in front that would have put some points on the board and in the long term, that decision proved crucial.
Coming back, things were better for the home side.
A maul close to the line saw Dylan Hurley go over and a Matt Joyce try soon after put them at 17-10 with a sniff of hope.
Then Kempsey missed a penalty from in front of the posts before Vile Vatuvili scored to leave Coffs trailing by two points.
Snappers had chances late in the game but time and time again, poor handling, poor options and unsatisfactory field position brought momentum screaming to a halt.
"We got down the wrong end of the field and couldn't get out," Waddy agreed.
"It was a problem going forward.
"Again we had a lot of ball but didn't do much with it.
"Remember this is a crew that hasn't played together much, with up to eight changes each week from the side that played last season.
"At some stage everything will click and you'll see a different outcome."
Once again, the shining lights were props Jimmy Bellamy and Matt Joyce who ran hard and straight and never took a backward step.
Meanwhile, there was little joy for Southern Cross University from their sojourn to Stuart Park in Port Macquarie.
It was a tough assignment against Hastings Valley, especially with coach Dave Nicol back in Coffs Harbour at the junior Country selection trials.
"I haven't got the full story yet but it looks like we went down 27-10," he reported.
"They tell me the Vikings cut our backline down and scored off the mistakes we made.
"It was always going to be a difficult situation and we'll get back together at training to see what was learned and then get set for the next one."
Hastings Valley Vikings d Southern Cross University Marlins 27-10
Kempsey Cannonballs d Coffs Harbour Snappers 17-15
Port Macquarie Pirates bye
Hastings Valley and SCU drew 14-all
Kempsey d Coffs 46-22
Port d Bowraville Goannas 19-10
Kempsey d Coffs 28-24
Hastings and SCU match deferred
Kempsey and Coffs match deferred
Por Pirates bye