Snappers back in rugby heaven as Marlins fail to fire
SMILES returned to the Coffs Harbour camp when Snappers bounced back to the winner's list by downing Southern Cross University 28-0 at Geoff King Motors (Marlins) Park.
The visitor's added a bonus point with their last try to have them taking a valuable step up the premiership ladder but it was the vastly improved overall effort that most pleased co-coach Rob Waddy.
"A lot better today and the boys tried hard for the whole game," he said.
"I guess the most pleasing thing was keeping Marlins to nil which showed a great defensive effort."
It took a long time for the match to get up to pace with clumsy handling contributing to plenty of stoppages.
Early on Marlins missed a long range penalty shot.
Nerves were apparent and in a slight show of pique, a scrum broke up as the men in the front row went the knuckle.
Marlins had another speculative kick at penalty with Tim Davis lining up the shot 42m from the posts and with the stiffening breeze in his face it was no surprise the attempt was flagged away.
Then Snappers took a turn to bomb a try but their next rally paid off when the opposing side lapsed in concentration at a restart and Matt Joyce ran an angle to cross in the corner.
The sideline conversion by Paul Butcher was a beauty and Coffs went to half-time leading 7-0 with the writing already on the wall for the home side.
"I didn't want them taking those shots at goal," SCU coach Dave Nicol lamented.
"It was still early in the day and we should have been going for maximum points."
Coming out for the second session, the Snappers' body language indicated a switched-on outfit and Waqa Yaya proved those suspicions correct in the 42nd minute.
Confronted by tissue-thin defence the charismatic winger went on a solo bust from the 40m line to cross for the simplest of tries.
Coffs bombed another before Kris Kent went over and the upset was as good as in the bag.
"We spoke at the break about using the last 40 minutes to prove something," Waddy revealed.
"Everything we did showed we are on the way back.
"Players are coming back and the side is getting back to the strength and experience we need to keep moving up."
However, Snappers again showed their inability to be patient when attacking in their opponent's 25m area.
Trying to push the pass too often and getting over-enthusiastic - then allowing frustration to show - did more harm than good and it's a facet in their game that's still hurting.
"Again we spoke about the need for patience," Waddy admitted.
"It will happen.
"We're a good enough team to make it happen."
For Marlins' coach Nicol, the day was a major disappointment and despite his endless capacity to forgive inexperience and inexplicable errors, he may be planning a reality check for his troops.
"Even at 14-0 down I felt we could get back on track but after that try after the break ... it was just about impossible," he said.
"It doesn't get any worse than not getting on the scoreboard and we'll have to have a real good look at where we go from here."
COFFS HARBOUR SNAPPERS 28 (Waqa Yaya 2, Matt Joyce, Kris Kent tries; Paul Butcher 4 conversions) def SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY MARLINS 0
Port Macquarie Pirates d Kempsey Cannonballs 50-0
Hastings Valley Vikings bye
SCU d Coffs 5-0
Kempsey d Port 33-19
Bowraville Goannas d Hastings 24-21
Port and Kempsey deferred
SCU and Coffs deferred
SCU d Coffs 19-17
Port d Kempsey 50-25