TEAM WORK: The Comets trademark swarming defence is the key asset for winning on big occasions.
TEAM WORK: The Comets trademark swarming defence is the key asset for winning on big occasions.

Speed seeks control of the field

MASTER Coffs Harbour coach Colin Speed bristles if reminded of what South Grafton did to his team in the Group 2 major semi final.

The Comets went dramatically off the game plan and suffered the consequences with a 50 point thrashing by the Rebels.

Speed said the problems of that meeting were addressed and the proof came in last weekend's dramatic preliminary final win over Nambucca Heads to earn one last crack at the minor premiers.

"People are too quick to forget we did the same thing to the Rebels a few weeks back when they also went off course," he said.

"It's something that happens to every good side every now and then and the trick is not to ignore it but to look at what went wrong, admit your mistakes and get on tot the next match."

The coach sat the squad down to identify what needed to be improved.

"The problems were very basic and we were our own worst enemy," Speed admitted.

"Field position had to be worked on and I'm happy with the progress made against the Roosters.

"I agree we started slowly and were under pressure but coming home strong was no fluke.

"When you get behind like that, it takes a good side to pull out of the hole you've dug and that's what we did.

"In big matches you make your own luck and those blokes made the win happen last Sunday and deserve every bit of making another grand final.

"Now, it's time to go that extra step."

Respect for tomorrow's opponent is something Speed has by the bucket load has no fear of saying so.

"They are a great side and we need to be greater to win through," he said.

"Dallas (Waters) is a great man with a team and they have great players all over the park.

"I think Mal Webster is the unsung power in attack and I've got enormous respect for their forward strength.

"Grant Stevens and Steve Walker are hard, tough men ... and that's before you get out to the strike blokes out wide like Roy Bell and Hughie Stanley."

He's also wary of star half Ant Cowan who has a knack of dragging games out of the fire late in the day.

Speed says the side that its stamps authority early will probably go on to victory.

"Our key is to play controlled and disciplined footy," he added.

"Stick to our strengths and game plan, it's as basic as that."

Referee Nathan Grace will blow the whistle, his ninth appointment to a first grade centre.

The under-18 match will be controlled by Julian Hulbert, continuing his rapid rise in two seasons from talented first grade player to a referee of unlimited potential.

In reserve grade, Ray Pettit will referee his last senior match after an exceptional 25 year career as a match official.

The Teams

Coffs Harbour

1 Josh Clift

2 Billy Griffiths

3 Shayde Perham

4 Abel Lefaoseu

5 Jacob van Hamond

6 Nick Monckton

7 Nathan Curry

8 Miles Fairbank

9 Kerrod Selmes

10 Alfred Penese

11 Sam Miles

12 John Oakes

13 Rick Barr

15 Peter Irwin

16 Leslie Poulava

17 Josh Fox

18 Kelcie Davis

20 Matt Cheeseman

Coach: Colin Speed

South Grafton

1 Roy Bell

2 Thomas McGrady

3 Chris Carr

4 Hughie Stanley

5 Oral Monaghan

6 Mal Webster Jr

7 Anthony Cowan

8 Jordan Walker

9 Rhys Walters

10 Steve Walker

11 Dwayne Duke

12 Grant Stevens

13 Luke Welch

14 Ian Leota

15 Josh Harris

16 Ben Woods

17 Nick McGrady

Coach: Dallas Waters

Match Officials

Referee: Nathan Grace

Touch judges: Lenny Duroux and Lloyd Lynwood

In goal: Jarrod Saddler and Josh Gorman

Interchange: Garry Stevenson

Game to be played at McKittrick Park, South Grafton.

The last time the Rebels hosted a grand final at the venue was in 1975.

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