Comets second half points splurge puts them into major semi
IN ALMOST a carbon copy of the meeting on July 20, Coffs Harbour poured on the second half pressure to beat Woolgoolga 62-18 in Sunday's Group 2 major preliminary semi final.
The Comets now head to Frank McGuren Field next Sunday to duel with Grafton for the right to host the season decider.
The Seahorses will be engaged in a sudden death battle with Sawtell the day before which they will host.
Perhaps, this was the way many supporters saw the pecking order playing out, even before the season began - apart from where the games would be played.
On Sunday, Woolgoolga gave away 18 points start before levelling up at the break.
It was a scrappy half and everybody knew the coaches would liven up their men with the pep talk at intermission.
But from the resumption, it was Coffs that came steaming off the blocks, heading straight at the Woopi defenders who knew immediately they now had their hands full for the rest of the afternoon.
"We tended to go a bit too lateral at the beginning and I wanted the attack straightened," winning coach Colin Speed said.
"The boys looked at some areas we needed to improve and put their hands up to do the job."
While both coaches lamented the stop-start nature of the game that upset momentum, Speed had one other concern.
"Again we finished on the wrong end of the penalty count," he added.
"I can't work out what we seem to do that's worse than other teams."
Two Coffs tries within seven minutes of the second half beginning changed the equation and left Woolgoolga captain-coach Steven Spencer feeling deflated.
"Again in the first half we showed we can match it," he said.
"They took it away by being too motivated when we started again."
Spencer returns next weekend and has fingers crossed all his men pull up okay.
There was some concern over Clark Webb's finger but the halfback said it was only jarred and not re-broken.
The news is not so good for still-sidelined winger Mark Pledger.
"I played with an injury during the year and it just got worse," he lamented.
"I'm not much chance for the Sawtell game but if we get past that point, I'll probably be right for the final."
COFFS HARBOUR COMETS 62 (Abel Lefaoseu 2, Dennis Gordon 2, Peter Irwin 2, Max Redstone 2, Michael Meadows, Scott Street, Kyle Gallen tries; Nathan Curry 9 goals) def WOOLGOOLGA SEAHORSES 18 (Leslie Poulava 2, Michael Hart tries; Michael Hart 3 goals)
At Geoff King Motors Oval, Coffs Harbour
Referee: Nathan Grace
Scrums: Woolgoolga 7-5
Penalties: Woolgoolga 12-10
Errors: Woolgoolga 9, Coffs Harbour 7
Reserve grade: Grafton d Sawtell 34-12
Under 18s: Sawtell d South Grafton 34-10
Minor preliminary final at Woolgoolga Sports Reserve
First - Woolgoolga v Sawtell
Reserve - Sawtell v Macksville
Under 18s - South Grafton v Woolgoolga
Major semi finals at Frank McGuren Field
First - Grafton v Coffs Harbour
Reserve - Coffs Harbour v Grafton
Under 18 - Macksville v Sawtell