LEAGUE: Fast finishing Coffs upset Grafton in round one
RUGBY LEAGUE: The potent left edge of the Grafton Ghosts' attack was sharp but their efforts weren't enough against Coffs Harbour Comets in the Clem Rankin Memorial Shield clash at Frank McGuren Field yesterday.
The Ghosts dominated the early stages of the clash, racing out to a 22-0 lead by half-time but the Comets fought back in the second stanza, running in four unanswered tries to win 24-22.
The showdown between the Group 2 heavyweights was an ill-disciplined affair early with four men sin-binned within the opening 15 minutes of play.
Ghosts' front-rowers Mitch Wicks and Ryan Binge followed Comets pairing Shayde Perham and Michael Spence to the sheds after being sin-binned by referee Nathan Grace.
The Ghosts were quick to capitalise on the extra space with winger Mitch Gorman crossing in the corner.
Gorman's effort was soon backed up by a piece of solo brilliance by Mitch Lollback who crossed to extend the home side's lead.
The two Mitchells threatened to break the Comets defensive line at will in the opening stanza and when a simple kick return led to a runaway try for centre Dylan Collett the Ghosts were on top.
Collett turned that effort into a brace of tries, crossing again late in the first half to cap off a dominant first 40.
Both sides returned from the sheds and the renewed intensity off the ball forcing plenty of handling errors.
Talented halfback Nathan Curry led the Comets' fightback while second-row prospect Wayne Weribone, who finished with a try-scoring double, also impressed.
With less than five minutes remaining both sides appeared out on their feet due but a fast-finishing Coffs Harbour were not to be denied.
Comets five-eighth Corey McGrady scored with less than one a minute remaining to level the scores at 22-all before Curry slotted the winning conversion from five in from the touchline.
Who will win the 2016 Group 2 Rugby League First Grade Premiership?
This poll ended on 15 August 2016.
South Grafton Rebels
Coffs Harbour Comets
Nambucca Heads Roosters
Macksville Sea Eagles
Orara Valley Axemen
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.