Snappers get their Yaya out and go rolling to victory
EARLY efforts by winger Waqa Yaya were directly influential in Coffs Rugby downing Southern Cross University 19-10 at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park today.
The hugely watchable Yaya's quick thinking to break the line after a University mistake had the Snappers knocking on the visitor's door.
Two infield passes saw Dylan Hurley across the line and soon after Yaya added a five-pointer himself to give the home side a decisive 14-7 lead.
At that point, the rains came and persisted for the next 50 minutes, hampering most efforts by the Marlins to make up the leeway.
A penalty to Uni on half time made it 14-10 and as it panned out, Coffs scored the only points of the second stanza for a comfortable win.
The first outing by Rob Waddy and Craig Landrigan as a coaching double had them smiling through the showers.
However, Waddy didn't credit the soggy surface for providing a head start.
"I didn't think it was that much of an advantage as both sides played pretty well," he said.
"We stuck to our game plan and our guns and everything worked alright."
Coffs appeared to bungle two scoring opportunities in the second half and again, Waddy wasn't ready to make excuses.
"No chance of extra points due to the weather, unfortunately," he added.
"We were lucky to keep the ball in hand.
"But it did show our training has been going well."
Co-coach Landrigan was pleased with the strong forward play and effort up front when many were saying before the game - even diehard Coffs supporters - that Marlins might have an edge among the big men.
But it was 'comeback kid' Mat Joyce and hard-running Jimmy Bellamy who were relentless in taking the attack to Marlins.
"They shouldn't have been surprised we went so well as our style is for a forward-based team," Landrigan said.
"With a few new backs, we needed that strength up front whenever we ran the ball.
"The fitness of our front rowers has improved out of sight so we were able to keep them running all game.
"Defence was another dimension they added as well, which may have surprised a lot of people."
For the first time in a local derby, Marlins started slight favourites.
The rain arriving when they trailed early, coupled with an injury backlog suffered in the second half which slowed the momentum, meant it wasn't to be their day.
Coach Dave Nicol was openly downcast after the loss.
"Not disappointed in the boys but just sorry they didn't get the outcome that corresponded to the effort they put in to win this one," he said.
"We started pretty good to score the first try but I worried it could get messy as everybody was so excited.
"Coffs got those two easy tries because they were more experienced.
"Remember, we're a new side that's two years old and the Snappers have been around for 40 years.
"I played with them for about 20 of those years and know how difficult they are to beat."
COFFS RUGBY SNAPPERS 19 (Dylan Hurley, Waqa Yaya, Kris Kent tries; Kris Kent 2 conversions) def SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY MARLINS 10 (Jono Jones try; Simon Donald conversion and penalty)
Port Macquarie Pirates d Kempsey Cannonballs 30-21
Hastings Valley Vikings bye
Coffs Rugby d SCU 43-7
Port Macquarie d Kempsey 14-6
Hastings Valley d Bowraville Goannas 34-15
Coffs Rugby won on forfeit from SCU
Port Macquarie d Kempsey 27-0
SCU won on forfeit from Coffs Rugby
Port Macquarie and Kempsey match deferred
Hastings Valley bye