Coffs Comets courageous but Nambucca Roosters take the win

Dane Saunders has been central to the Nambucca Roosters’ winning form.

NEAR perfect conditions for rugby league greeted Group 2 heavyweights, the Coffs Harbour Comets and the Nambucca Roosters, on Saturday at Coronation Park Nambucca Heads for an elimination semi-final.

Coffs Harbour came south with a near full roster however there were concerns in the Nambucca camp about some key omissions from their side, with utility player Jai Waddy out with injury and powerful forward Ryan Taylor on suspension.

With their seasons on the line both teams were intent on coming away with a win and when Roosters playmaker Tyronne Roberts-Davis was injured in an early tackle it looked like the scales would tip prematurely.

However, luckily for the Roosters, Roberts-Davis was able to stay on the field.

Coffs Harbour drew first blood through a try by Bennet Bar Reech who found space on the Roosters right edge.

Nathan Curry nailed the conversion and Coffs were in front 6-0 only seven minutes into the game.

Early penalties went the Comets way and they were enjoying the lion’s share of possession until a handling error at the 12 minute mark seemed to shift momentum in favour of the home side.

The Roosters pressure on the Coffs line eventually paid off and Michael Tyerman crossed the line, not converted.

The first half continued to play out in a disciplined manner with both sides able to stick to their game plans.

Poor completions and ball security affected both teams however a passage of play over two tackles by Nambucca, where everyone got a touch on the ball, put their fullback Robbie Smith over for a try, not converted.

With eight minutes left in the half the home side were again able to penetrate the Coffs Harbour defence and Dane Saunders crossed the line with Roberts-Davis able to convert, the Roosters in front 14-6.

Two minutes before the halftime bell a penalty gave Coffs a scrum feed only meters from the line, getting the No 3 Ronan Singleton in position to explode over across for a try, not converted, the half time score, 14-10 in favour of the Nambucca Roosters.

The second half ignited with the intensity of the first and a converted try by Coffs with five minutes on the clock put them in front, 16-14.

Energised by their lead, the visitors were relentless in attack and 15 minutes into the second half Nathan Curry put the ball under the post and converted his own try, stretching the Comets lead, 22-14.

Possession of the ball teetered between the two sides until, 20 minutes into the half, Robbie Smith crossed the line again, converted by Roberts-Davis, and the gap closed to 22-20.

With the clock winding down the physicality of the contest increased and, with 11 minutes left in the game Tyreece Sines went over the line to put Nambucca back in front.

Four minutes later a dropped ball by the Comments on the end of a Tyronne Roberts-Davis bomb enabled Brody Simon to give the home side a 10 point lead with five minutes remaining in the game.

The Roosters travel to South Grafton on Sunday 27 August for the major semi final against.

The Comets did not take their foot off the pedal and, with two minutes left on the clock Lewis Hall scored a try, converted by Nathan Curry.

The full time score was 32-28 in favour of the Nambucca Roosters, ending the season for the Coffs Harbour Comets.
Both teams gave the Coronation Park crowd a great exhibition of finals footy.

Earlier on the card in the Reserve Grade the Coffs Comets took on the Sawtell Panthers with Coffs taking the win, 40-14, keeping their season alive.

On Sunday in the Reserve Grade the Macksville and District Sea Eagles defeated the Nambucca Roosters convincingly 44-16 at the Solitary Island Sports Ground.

Macksville goes into the major semi final at South Grafton on Sunday 27 August against Woolgoolga.

In the U/8s the Coffs Harbour Comets defeated Nambucca 20-16 and will now play the Macksville Sea Eagles for a grand final spot.


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