THE Coffs Harbour Comets maintained their good form in the Group 2 pre-season competition with a 22-18 victory over the South Grafton Rebels at Geoff King Oval.
Two tries from Naden Simon, one try from Brad Nicholson and a stunning solo effort from Liam Dunn edged the Comets over the line as the Rebels launched a second half fight back.
The Rebels piled on the pressure in the second half and pierced the Comets defence with set plays but the fightback was thwarted by the flare of Liam Dunn as he picked up the ball up in the middle of the park and set off on a zig zag run which left two Rebels forwards on the ground diving at shadows, two more Rebels plugged the gap on the try line but the slippery Dunn was too hot to handle and wrestled his way over the line in a stunning solo effort.
Comets reserve team coach Miles Fairbank summed up the match.
“We started the game strongly with good shape which put pressure on the rebels early on and we grabbed a couple tries from that.
“I thought the Rebels got better as the game went on and will be a team to watch come finals time,” said Fairbank.
Comets first grade coach Brandon Costin who played at five eight for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Roosters, Western Suburbs and Canberra Raiders told News Of The Area.
“After no rugby league for the last 12 months, the Comets are raring to go in a brand new season, unfortunately due to weather we have only had one trial game and will be under done when it comes to round one, most teams are in the same boat so I don’t believe we will be disadvantaged.
“I saw some really clever football from the South Grafton side, they are a very dangerous team and they will be a top 2 or 3 side this year.
“They play expansive with big bodies and strong athleticism, they will be hard to beat during the season proper, I originally thought Bellingen would be close to favourite to take out the Grand Final in 2021 but they were beaten by Macksville in a strong trial game, both of these teams will be ultra competitive.
“Coffs Comets are building after losing a mass of players from previous years and we are very grateful to the talent coming through the ranks into our under 18 team through the outstanding work from Coffs Juniors.
“We are hoping to have a successful year but it’s going to be tough as the other sides have done a great job with development and recruitment,” said Costin.
The Comets next trial match is against Kyogle Turkeys on Saturday 10 April at Geoff King Motors Oval and it’s a full program where the Ladies League Tag kicks off at 2pm, the under 18’s at 3:15pm and the men’s first grade at 4:30pm.
By David WIGLEY