UGLY

ROOSTERS TOO LAZY TO CROW

The last thing I want to do is start this column off on a negative note but Nambucca Heads calling time at half time of its Group 2 match against Sawtell is the talking point of the weekend.

To begin with I want to make it clear that these comments are in no way pointed at the players who played two games of football today.

The Roosters were on a hiding to nothing before kick-off with every single member of the first grade team having already played in the reggies and it was obvious early that the contest was going to be a procession with the Panthers scoring a string of long range tries, most very early in the tackle count.

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My issue is the Roosters players that weren't there.

Take a look at the above video and listen to the words of captain-coach Matt Field. A couple of quotes stick out for me.

"We're getting a lot of blokes back next week, a local derby so we'll have blokes come out of the woodworks" is one while the other is "we were getting 50, 60 plus" when Field was talking about pre-season training numbers.

Where are these players?

Field lamented a number of injuries and suspensions but to rely on players coming out of the woodwork for a local derby isn't fair on those having a crack.

"I couldn't be prouder of the boys in there that had a go, that's what the club is all about, just having a go," Field said.

Here's hoping there's a few more Roosters willing to put their hand up and have a crack. Not just next week when there's a local derby but every week.

GOOD

1. WEARY SUNS SHINE ON THE ROAD

THIS was a remarkable effort by the Suns women. Travelling to Wagga Wagga and Goulburn for an away trip to rival the NBL's dreaded 'doomsday double' to Perth and Adelaide, with only eight players and recording two wins.

Any fatigue from the long bus trip from Sydney Airport to Wagga wasn't evident on Saturday night as the Suns took down the Blaze 58-50.

> > Click here to scroll down to weekend scores and photo galleries

With a minute remaining in Wagga, the Suns led by only two points. A pair of free throws by Jordon Woods and another by Rachael McGinniskin gave Coffs Harbour breathing space but the three pointer with only seconds remaining by 16 year-old Teagan Mayer was the moment the girls truly knew they had the win.

No time to party though as it was straight on the bus for a three-hour trip to Goulburn before finally being able to feet up and their head on a pillow.

No such worries this morning.

In the first quarter the Suns defence was on song and the girls went into the first break leading 21-5.

A pair of three pointers to start the second stanza by Laura Bamford-Cleland and Jordon Woods pushed the margin out to 22 points and that was all she wrote.

2. SHARP SHOOTING LAURA

While on the subject of Bamford-Cleland, her 15 points against Wagga Wagga and another 33 against Goulburn has rocketed her to the top of the list of points scorer's in the Waratah League's Division 1 competition.

Shooting an incredible nine three-pointers this morning has pushed her average up to 22.33 points per game.

The next best in the entire competition is Maddison Clyne from Wagga Wagga with 18 ppg.

Add to that the scoring Rachael McGinniskin offers in the paint with 12 ppg and the hard running Jordon Woods who's averaging 11.33 ppg and the Suns look dangerous in offense.

Laura Bamford-Cleland of the Coffs Harbour Suns is the leading scorer in the Waratah League's Division 1 Women competition.
Laura Bamford-Cleland of the Coffs Harbour Suns is the leading scorer in the Waratah League's Division 1 Women competition. Chris Lane

3. FITZROY OVAL / OLD CAMP

After much-needed renovations to a changing shed that it was past its use by date two decades ago, first it was cricket that enjoyed a return to the Fitzroy Oval / Old Camp ground and on Saturday it was the turn of Australian Rules.

Yaam Nguura Jalumgal as the area is known in Gumbaynggirr language provided a great backdrop for the Coffs Breakers unfurling of last year's premiership flag and the spectators enjoyed the shade offered by the new facilities.

4. NORTH COAST REPS

Group 2's under-23 representative team didn't get the chocolates against their Group 3 counterparts but half of the North Coast team named after Saturday's match in Wingham come from Group 2 clubs.

Orara Valley leads the way with four players named (Luke Beaumont, Alex Bunt, Michael Hart and Jarrod Roberts selected along with Sawtell pair Josh Cockbain and Latrell Hampton.

Group 2's Ladies League tag team was soundly beaten but the Sawtell trio of Hannah White, Makayla Hoskins and Gretta Smith were picked in the North Coast team along with Leyley Holten and Jakaya Hart from Coffs Harbour.

The North Coast teams will play against Central Coast in the opening round of the Country Championships at Macksville on Saturday, May 5.

5. NEXT WEEK - A DERBY WORTH WATCHING

All eyes will be on Geoff King Motors Park next weekend.

Whenever Coffs Harbour and Sawtell meet it's a rugby league contest worth viewing such is the rivalry between the two teams but this one promises to be something special with the encounter being a top of the table clash.

6. RAW MATERIAL

A young winger from the SCU Marlins caught my eye on Saturday.

Garang Garang is still learning the game but when he finds space the young man has speed to burn and if given the chance to play a couple more matches before most of the first grade team returns from injury and overseas trips, Garang could produce something spectacular.

 

BAD

1. SUCH A LONG WAY TO GO

Basketball NSW officials weren't happy with me last year when I bagged the refs after what I thought were some dubious calls that went in Bathurst's favour when the Suns women lost the Waratah League grand final in an overtime heartbreaker.

They're probably not going to be happy with me now either.

In the space of eight days, Coffs Harbour's women have been fixtured to play away in Wagga Wagga, away in Goulburn followed by another road trip the next weekend to Bomaderry/Nowra to play the Shoalhaven Tigers.

I know the girls have to play these games at some stage during the season but asking a group of amateur players to play three long distance matches in the space of eight days is a tough ask.

It is this journalists opinion (and not the association's if anybody from Basketball NSW is reading) that surely separating the two journeys by a couple of months would be more helpful.

The good news I suppose is that after the Shoalhaven trek, the Suns will get to play five of their next six matches in front of a home crowd at Sportz Central.

2. TOOTHLESS TIGERS

When pre-season talk and expectations don't live up to Round 1 reality, it can be a sobering experience.

Grafton came into this AFL North Coast season having won only three matches in the past three seasons but there was hope this year's Tigers would be greatly improved.

A 141 point loss to the Coffs Breakers to start the season suggests it may be another long season for Grafton.

In a four team competition where only three of them qualify for the finals, a close competition is needed to maintain interest all the way up to the start of the finals in August.

Here's hoping the Tigers can improve but a road trip to Port Macquarie which they have next week has traditionally been a hard slog for the AFL North Coast's northern most team.

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH

When it comes to rugby league my allegiances lie with the Melbourne Storm.

As much as I enjoy it when my team beats the Broncos, I thought Billy Slater's controversial try was a knock on.

Then again, there's a standing bet in the office between myself and photographer Trevor Veale every time the Storm and Broncos. So I'll take the four pointer.

The prize is a packet of Darrell Lea orange balls and this time I've got the chocolates again. The Storm and Broncos have met 25 times since the 2006 grand final with the Storm winning 21 of them. 

GROUP 2

Under-23 rep team: Group 3 def Group 2 26-24
Ladies Tag rep team: Group 3 def Group 2 32-0

Coffs Harbour def South Grafton 32-30
Sawtell def Nambucca Heads 62-0
Grafton Ghosts def Macksville 28-16

WARATAH LEAGUE

Coffs Harbour Suns def Wagga Wagga Blaze 58-50
Coffs Harbour Suns def Goulburn Bears 84-46

MNC RUGBY

Hastings Valley def Coffs Snappers 35-24
Port Pirates def SCU Marlins 29-14
Grafton def Kempsey 31-26

NORTH COAST FOOTBALL

Men's Premier League
Coffs United def Northern Storm 2-1
Grafton United def Coffs Coast Tigers 1-0
Boambee def Maclean 2-1
Urunga def Westlawn Tigers 6-2

AFL NORTH COAST

Coffs Breakers 27.19 (181) def Grafton 6.4 (40)
Sawtell/Toormina 14.13 (97) def Port Macquarie 10.8 (68)



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