LEAGUE: Comets ready to close book on fairytale
RUGBY LEAGUE: AT the beginning of the season, Macksville Sea Eagles coach Garry Jarrett set out some simple rules for his players.
"No weddings until October,” is boldly written on the whiteboard in the clubhouse.
"And no social media on the bus to the games.”
It's an indication he planned to shake up the Group 2 competition long before anybody realised the Sea Eagles would be a force.
The wily Jarrett wanted no absconders or players with other engagements when the play-offs arrived.
Both he and Coffs Harbour rival Brandon Costin are former NRL stars and that understanding of players and attention to the tiniest detail will pit them against each other in a battle of tactical wits.
For Costin and his team, the path to the grand final has been a well executed plan held collectively by the players since the pre-season.
"The culture within this team is the most professional I've seen in CRL. That culture and professionalism streams down from the president and the committee,” Costin said.
"I feel we have peaked perfectly for the grand final. Come kick-off I'll settle for a performance where we play to our full potential, regardless of a win, loss or draw.”
But even their best laid plans for the decider were thrown out the window with Macksville's fairytale run to the decider from fifth spot.
Only the Sea Eagles' faithful would have backed finals wins against Sawtell, Orara Valley and Grafton on the road.
"Definitely. We figured we would be meeting Grafton in the grand final,” Comets' Vaughan Dawes admitted.
"I bet Macksville, didn't dare to dream they would beat the Panthers, then the Axeman and most certainly Grafton, last year's Clayton Cup winners, on their home grounds. What a run to a grand final.
"They have nothing to lose and good luck to them, but our boys have spent a season working to this point.”