Snappers knocked out in extra-time thriller
IT WAS heartbreak for the Coffs Snappers after they were beaten in extra-time by Kempsey meaning they missed out an a berth in the MNC Rugby grand final by a whisker.
The Snappers led 26-21 late in the Preliminary Final which was played in front of more than 1000 spectators at T.G Jung Quarries Rugby Park but couldn't stop a determined Cannonballs team from equalising and sending the game into an additional 20 minutes.
Despite the loss, Snappers coach Rob Waddy refused to be critical of his team.
"It was an opportunity but we just couldn't grasp it but the boys tried well and obviously they're disappointed," Waddy said.
"Having said that they're nowhere near as disappointed as they were last year when we got beaten by Port. That tells me that they tried their best throughout the whole game, I think you're more disappointed if you don't really have a go."
The two issues that proved costly for the Snappers were too much dropped ball and allowing the Cannonballs to score not long after the Snappers scored.
"We just didn't make the most of when we were in front," the coach said.
"I think if at any stage if anybody had have got 12 or 14 points up that would've been it. It would've been really hard for either team to have come back from it."
Scores were level at the break but the Cannonballs jumped out to a seven point lead shortly after the resumption when Corey Gale pushed over and Tyler Price converted.
The Snappers replied with a converted try to once again lock up the scores and then possibly scored the match winner to edge ahead.
The equaliser came and extra time started and Kempsey proved too strong in the end.
The Cannonballs scored six minutes into the first half of extra time to take a valuable five point lead.
In the final 10 minutes the Snappers had plenty of ball but Kempsey didn't let the home side out of their own half and defended grimly refusing to allow a long range try to be an option.
It was not all bad news for the Coffs Harbour teams as the Snappers' reserve grade and under-16 teams progressed through to next week's grand final in Port Macquarie while the SCU Marlins under-14s team also made their way through to the grand final where they will join the Marlins' under-16 and under-18 teams who have already qualified for the big day,