Sunday's knee jerk reaction: Coffs Coast weekend sport

GOOD

1. LOCKY IN GREEN AND GOLD

As this column goes live, Coffs Harbour's own Locky Miller is representing Australia in rugby sevens and is preparing to meet the world champion Fiji in the final of the Singapore Sevens.

Considering six months ago Miller was going to be a co-coach of the Sawtell Panthers in Group 2, his rise to playing for Australia after kicking the SCU Marlins to last year's MNC Rugby premiership has been nothing short of meteoric.

Miller scored the opening try of the pool match against Wales as the Aussie 7s swept their pool beating Scotland, New Zealand and Wales before downing Spain in the quarter finals. 

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Then there was tight win over England in the semi final.

Fiji awaits in the final which starts at 10pm but who knows? Perhaps in two years time an spot in the rugby sevens Olympic team awaits Miller.

2. GRAFTON TIGERS

I put them in the bad list last week after a 141 point loss. Yesterday the Tigers lost by 147 points.

So why put them in the good list after another thumping?

Quite simply because Grafton turns up.

There's a few other sporting teams who have turned their toes up at the start of the season after facing the prospect of being on the wrong end of a lot of thrashings during the year.

And Grafton has to travel a lot more than most other sides.

Hats off to the AFL North Coast team for simply putting their hand up and saying "we'll have a go".

3. BOAMBEE BOMBERS

After losing last year's C.ex Group Men's Premier League grand final, Boambee has bounced back to be the competition front runners after the first month of football.

The Bombers are four from four and are also preparing for the next round of the FFA Cup which will be played at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium in a fortnight.

I thought the loss of Jake Stitt out of the goals because of a serious injury might hamper the Bombers until his return but teenager Darcy Newell is doing a fine job conceding only six goals.

Considering the potent attack has scored 17 goals so far, letting the odd one in here and there doesn't seem to be bothering Boambee at all.

 

4. SAWTELL PANTHERS

Sawtell coach Rod Hardy hasn't worked in the corridors of parliament pulling the strings of our politicians but perhaps he should think about it.

Before the season kicked off there was little to know about the Panthers team and Hardy admits that was just how he wanted it.

The coach told us his team was young and he wasn't sure what to expect from his team in 2018.

Well the jig is up puppet master. Nobody is believing your attempts at downplaying any hype about your team from here on in.

Sawtell played the first three weeks with a fast paced attack and quick work around the ruck that had the opposition defences back pedalling.

Today's win showed there's a plan B as well. Coffs Harbour took it up to Sawtell and in the 20 minutes prior to half time, it was the Comets who were winning the territory battle thanks to their big forwards making yards up the middle.

After the resumption, Sawtell defended grimly and managed to not only win the arm wrestle but come out the other side of it playing great football to score five second-half tries to one.

That's a win at Grafton against the Ghosts and a win on enemy territory against Coffs Harbour now.

The match on home soil against South Grafton next week will be one worth watching.

And there might be a few watching now that the secret is out.

BAD

THE SUNS MEN

Granted the Suns men have been undermanned, undersized and have faced a couple of daunting road trips over this month.

But the Suns are now 0-5 and long odds of reaching the semi finals.

If the Suns aren't good enough that's fair enough but coach Blake Kelly must be tearing his hair out at the fact that the mistakes being made in the fifth game are the same mistakes that are being made in the first.

In fact when it comes to a low shooting percentage, particularly from the free throw line, it's an error that was proving costly for the Suns last year as well.

It doesn't get any easier in the sort term for the boys either.

They now get a week off but the week after that it's another road trip. This one a double header with a match against Manly-Warringah on the Saturday followed by an encounter the next day on the Central Coast.

UGLY

BAD LANGUAGE

Over the past couple of seasons the lady who rules the home roost asks if I'd like to take our now seven year-old son along to one of the matches that I'm covering.

She actually hasn't asked me this year because my answer has always been 'no'.

The simple reason is because of bad language. And I'm not just talking about in the crowd. The language that comes from the combatants on the field and at a loud volume is sometimes even worse.

Now I've never been a shrinking violet when it comes to the occasional F-bomb but it needs to be noted that you name the local competition, there's now a push to champion the women's side of the sport.

Be it Group 2, AFL North Coast, MNC Rugby, North Coast Football or the Waratah League, there's women's teams playing alongside the men.

While most of the female players taking part are younger, there's a percentage there that have children.

Perhaps a reduction in bad language might make it easier to recruit and retain female players. Even more importantly, having young kids at games may help to ensure the junior numbers are strong as well.

WEEKEND SCORES

GROUP 2
Sawtell def Coffs Harbour 35-12
Orara Valley def Grafton Ghosts 24-20
Macksville def Nambucca Heads 34-24

WARATAH LEAGUE
Division 1 Men: Hills Hornets def Coffs Harbour Suns 85-48
Division 1 Women: Shoalhaven Tigers def Coffs Harbour Suns 62-51.

MNC RUGBY
Saturday: Illawarra def MNC Rugby Axemen 55-22
Sunday: Newcastle Hunter def MNC Rugby Axemen 59-26

NORTH COAST FOOTBALL
Boambee def Coffs United 4-1
Cofs Coast Tigers def Maclean 2-0
Urunga def Northern Storm 4-1
Grafton United def Westlawn Tigers 4-4

AFL NORTH COAST
Sawtell/Toormina 12.10 (82) def Coffs Breakers 8.10 (58)
Port Macquarie 25.13 (163) def Grafton 2.4 (16)