CHARGE FORWARD: Hard second half running turned the match in Coffs Harbour's direction.
CHARGE FORWARD: Hard second half running turned the match in Coffs Harbour's direction. Greg White

Better finish gets Comets over the line

AN improved second session carried Coffs Harbour to a 30-8 home victory over Macksville following a half time rev from coach Brandon Costin.

The Comets stargazed early and gave the visiting team plenty of leeway and only held a slender two point lead at intermission.

A weaving run by Simon Britton-Snowdan leading to a try in the corner changed the complexion and continuing to spread the ball around caused more space to open up.

Hard running on to the ball did the rest.

"Our first half was poor and we needed to come back out and play to a level suitable,” he said.

"Macksville were unlucky in a few areas and put in a very spirited performance.

"I warned my players this was a grand final for the Sea Eagles but for some reason we didn't perform at the start.

"In hindsight the week off affected our momentum but we didn't pay enough respect and the thing is we have to give every team respect every single game because that's what really good sides do.”

While he didn't say it specifically, Costin had to be reasonably content with the defensive effort as a grim spread across his face when mentioning the visiting team renowned for flamboyance had been restricted to eight points.

"Still, there are better attacking sides out there and defence has to improve.

"Particularly in a week's time against Orara which is one where we really must perform like a semi final team.”

At McKittrick Park two tries from Tyran Stevenson and a huge effort by Austin Cooper against his old club provided a narrow advantage for Sawtell.

The two point victory has all but lodged the Panthers in the play-offs and spoiled the party for comeback half Ant Cowan who was playing his first match in South Grafton colours since 2015.

The little champion showed he still has plenty of tricks in his armoury but there was plenty to like about Sawtell's gutsy win in a see-sawing game.