LONG LEAP: Cameron Sweeney maintains possession for Snappers in last year's major semi.
LONG LEAP: Cameron Sweeney maintains possession for Snappers in last year's major semi. File photo

Snappers ready to give all

QUIET confidence is oozing from co-coach Brett Davis as Coffs Harbour prepares for today's grand final showdown with Hastings Valley.

There have been lapses in concentration that the Snappers have been forced to overcome in recent weeks before winning through to the decider but Davis feels certain the side can succeed from 80 minutes of optimum performance.

"We haven't won one since 2011 but everybody is positive we can change that,” he said.

"After playing the Vikings so often in big matches we have picked up plenty of things in their game we can exploit.

"The key is playing to our strengths and trying to find their weaknesses.”

Saying that, Davis knows his opponents have extensive big match experience that makes them formidable, particularly with the McCormack brothers at the pinnacle of their careers.

"Hamish drives them forward and Adam calls the shots.

"However, I think we can counter that by playing better rugby.”

Playing smart could mean using agile, young players to run the bigger and older Vikings around the park.

It's a tactic which paid dividends for SCU Marlins in the 2017 decider when the Vikings lost their first match in three years and a title they were expected to walk in.

"We would be silly not to use our youth factor,” Davis said.

"A player such as Zac Cross is ideal for a game like this.

"He came out of 18s and I had to have a long talk to convince him it was the right move but he's had a wonderful year.

"Similar story with Lloyd Simms-Chambers who will lose nothing at half in comparison to Adam McCormack who he played with in the rep side.

"Rubbing shoulders with players like that helps you pick up their space and timing.

"You learn a lot playing with the best and Lloyd's another who should go well.”

Both Davis and coaching partner Troy Baker will drum into their men the importance of making a swift exit from the gates.

It paid dividends in the minor semi win over Pirates but without a lift in performance, could have been fatal last week against Grafton.

"Giving away 14 points at the start like we did against Redmen would not be a good idea.

"Particularly against a side like Hastings who can punish every lapse.

"We will have to be at our best with things going right but in saying that I'm quietly confident.”

Max Fulton has been selected to referee the grand final, assisted by Michael Tonks and Andrew Birch.

As an interesting sidelight, Paul Butcher who kicked that memorable goal from the sideline when the Snappers won the 2011 premiership, will be involved again.

This time as referee of the women's rugby match which will be the curtain-raiser to the main event.

The teams

Snappers XV

1 Jesse Kirkman, 2 Jack Winchester, 3 James Bellamy, 4 Craig Landrigan, 5 Joe De Dassel (c), 6 Cameron Sweeney, 7 Brannon Murray, 8 Jonathon Kahler, 9 Lloyd Simms-Chambers, 10 Zac Cross, 11 Oscar Edwards, 12 Tim Anderson, 13 Matthew Spence, 14 Connor Martin, 15 Kris Kent; Reserves: 16 Grant Atkins, 17 Andrew Mallam, 19 Ross Gundry, 20 Blake Southam, 21 Nathan Stevenson-Wong, 22 Jamie Ross, 24 Brad Thorn, 25 Adam Loudon; Co-coaches; Brett Davis and Troy Baker.

Vikings XV

1 Jeremy Segol, 2 Hamish McCormack, 3 Mark Minter, 4 Ben Purcell, 5 Tom Woods, 6 Tom Hetherington, 7 Peter Segol, 8 Lyndon Gale, 9 Adam McCormack, 10 Kenny Anderson, 11 Nathan Swift, 12 Sam Browning, 13 Blake Ryan, 14 Lachlan Ross, 15 Dan Willoughby; Coach: Dave Henry.

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