MATCH WINNER: Grafton crowd-pleaser Karrnunny Pearce leaves a Coffs Snappers player grasping at thin air.
MATCH WINNER: Grafton crowd-pleaser Karrnunny Pearce leaves a Coffs Snappers player grasping at thin air. Gary Nichols

So close but so far for Snappers, Marlins

THE Coffs Snappers couldn't have gone any closer to inflicting Grafton's first loss of the season without actually doing it than they did on Saturday.

With eight minutes left on the clock the Snappers were hanging on grimly to a one-point lead before a penalty goal from 40 metres out

But a 40m penalty goal by Mitch Lollback restored a slender lead for the Redmen but there was still time for the Snappers to win.

That was until Grafton's fill-in fullback Karrnunny Pearce scored out wide to stretch the lead to seven points in the dying moments.

The speedy Pearce who was once a Snapper himself produced a 60 metre effort whre he beat four members of a fatiguing defence to put the game beyond doubt.

If the Snappers had have got the win it would've been a resul they truly deserved.

The Redmen's slick passing game was constantly brought undone by the fierce pressure the Snappers inflicted on the opposition.

Grafton captain Kyle Hancock admitted he was a relieved man at the final bell.

"We did it tough and had to dig deep and credit to Coffs, they are a very good side and they'll ruffle a few feathers later in the year,” he said.

The SCU Marlins were also a strong chance of causing an upset against Hastings Valley.

It looked like a repeat of last year's comeback by the Marlins in the grand final was on the cards when the home team reduced a 26-7 margin to 26-21 thanks to a pair of quick tries.



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