Panthers primed for the kill against Group 2's top side
RUGBY LEAGUE: Two months can feel like a lifetime in sport.
On April 14, the Sawtell Panthers made the short trip up Hogbin Dr to take on their arch rivals the Coffs Harbour Comets.
The Panthers were coming off a round one win, albeit scrappy, and expected themselves to find another level against the Comets.
What happened next was an 80 minute defensive masterclass by Coffs Harbour, as they suffocated the Panthers attack in a 26-0 victory.
Although their form has been patchy in 2019, the Panthers may have just found their attacking mojo in time for retribution against the Comets on Saturday.
Sawtell have scored a combined 108 points in their last two games as their back five in particular have enjoyed a field day against the Orara Valley Axemen and Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies.
It's a fearless brand of footy which coach Garry Stevenson hopes his side employ once again, if they earn the right to.
"The opposition is stronger and we'll have to be at our very best to beat them,” Stevenson said.
"It's about our control and our game management. If we can complete our sets we can apply the tactics we learnt from the last game against them and hopefully this time score some points.
"Positionally we had to change a few things from that first game against them and being young our execution was a bit off. But if we can hang in there and not have to chase the game like last time hopefully we can win it late.”
Sawtell's new found flair hasn't come as a surprise to hardened Panthers fans, as it's coincided with the return of halfback Tyran Stevenson.
Put simply Stevenson was the final piece to the Panthers' offensive puzzle, one which the Comets will no doubt back themselves to solve this weekend.
The under-18s and ladies league tag games between the Panthers and Comets have been moved to Friday night.
Under-18s commence at 6pm while ladies league tag begins at 7.15pm.
In other games this weekend Woolgoolga will try and keep pace with the top-five when they host the Axemen, while Macksville will attempt to end their three game-losing streak against a red-hot South Grafton Rebels.
In Grafton, the Ghosts will look to keep the heat on the Comets at the top with a win over Bellingen.
ROUND 9 GAMES
Sawtell v Coffs Harbour
Woolgoolga v Orara Valley
Grafton v Bellingen
Macksville v South Grafton