2021 Review of Major Sports on the Coffs Coast

The Newcastle Jets used Coffs Harbour as a training hub and played trial matches at C.ex Coffs International Stadium. Photo by Sports Photography on the Mid North Coast.


DESPITE a disrupted Covid-19 season, the Coffs Coast hosted a number of major sporting events in 2021 creating special memories for the region and the community.

The Newcastle Jets held a preseason trial match last summer against the Brisbane Roar at C.ex Coffs International Stadium which ended in a 1-1 draw.

It was a defining moment in the career of Jets striker Valentino Yuel who was on a trial at the time and was promptly given a two year contract after catching the eye of the coaches at Coffs Harbour.

Yuel went on to score five goals in the opening games of the A-League season and in his second season was the A-League’s leading goal scorer after three games.

The Newcastle Jets stayed in Coffs Harbour for a week using the region as a training hub and engaging the community with free kids football clinics and open training sessions at C.ex Coffs International Stadium.

The Jets returned to Coffs Harbour in April for an A-League match against Perth Glory which ended in a 1-1 draw, Perth Glory opened the scoring and Roy O’Donovan squared the match from the penalty spot.

Participants from Coffs RISE met the Newcastle Jets players and exchanged stories.

Footy fever blazed through the town in June 2021 for the inaugural NRL match where the Cronulla Sharks defeated the Gold Coast Titans 38-10.

Sharks coach Josh Hannay told News Of The Area the venue was top notch.

“Top notch, the hospitality has been incredible, the playing surface is fantastic and it was great to play in front of a full stadium, it’s taken a lot of collaboration and thanks to the Council for helping to make it happen, they’ve been great to work with, I would like to come back again,” said Hannay.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook said there was one big problem with the venue.

“The facilities are excellent, we love coming to Coffs Harbour, there’s just one problem, we keep losing here, we need some wins here, the playing surface and venue is excellent,” said Holbrook.

The Cronulla Sharks and Gold Coast Titans will return to Coffs Harbour on Saturday 18 June 2022 in a repeat of last season’s clash.

July was the homecoming of Kaitlan Leaney and Brianna Hoy who helped the NSW Waratahs win the Buildcorp Super W trophy in Coffs Harbour defeating the Queensland Reds 45-12 in the final.

Kaitlan and Brianna grew up in Coffs Harbour playing for and against each other at the Coffs Harbour Snappers Rugby Union Club and the SCU Marlins Rugby Union Club and were cheered on every step of the way by their home crowd at C.ex International Stadium.

Kaitlan told News Of The Area about the amazing experience.

“Such an amazing experience that I’m incredibly grateful for.

“Bri and I were very lucky to have our family and friends there, it made the atmosphere so much fun and made all of the Tahs girls feel supported.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome and to get the win on home soil made it so much sweeter,” said Kaitlan.
For Brianna Hoy it was an experience she won’t forget.

“It was really a once in a lifetime experience, to see so many not only friends and family but supporters of women’s rugby out there was really amazing to see.

“And to be able to see the next generation of young boys and girls standing at the fence cheering, just as excited as I was at that age was very surreal.

“I felt extremely proud to have the competition in my hometown,” said Brianna.

In August home grown talent Locky Miller competed in the Tokyo Olympics scoring three tries for Australia in the Rugby 7s.

Upon his return to Coffs harbour, Miller made the decision to change codes and signed a two year contract for the Cronulla Sharks.

The former Sawtell Panthers captain and SCU Marlins player will have plenty of home support for the Sharks’ match in June 2022.

As 2021 ends, major sporting action begins on the first day of 2022 when the Sydney Sixers play the Melbourne Renegades on New Year’s Day at C.ex Coffs International Stadium.

We have enjoyed capturing and sharing these moments in 2021 and look forward to more in 2022 – THANK YOU.




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