Tempers flare in fierce clash between Rebels and Comets
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Group 2 clash between competition heavyweights Coffs Harbour Comets and the South Grafton Rebels descended into chaos on Sunday afternoon when the game was called the game off early after numerous fights broke out and four players were sent from the field.
Playing in perfect conditions at Geoff King Motors Oval, the Comets were leading the entertaining match 26-12 when both teams started to get a little testy.
Rebels coach Craig Youngjohns said his side squandered numerous opportunities with the ball, which left them frustrated and saw tensions boil over late in the game.
"We couldn't build pressure, we had no patience with the ball and we just didn't want the ball, we had no ball security" Youngjohns said.
"Every time we got the ball we tried to do something clever with it and it didn't come off. We went away from our structures that we trained for and we've only got ourselves to blame for that."
Youngjohns said he was disappointed with how his side handled their frustrations, and said there was no excuse for the ill-discipline which saw two of his players sent off and another two sent to the sin-bin.
"Getting into fights or anything like that doesn't get us anywhere and as a result we'll have a couple of quality players out for next week I'd say," he said.
"We addressed those issues after the game and had a good talk about how we have to play smart footy, and not just tough footy. We've got a tough bunch of players but they're not always going to win tough.
"We need to play smart and learn that going up to the referee isn't going to make him change his mind, so we need to stay away from that."
In the initial scuffle, midway through the second half, South Grafton Rebels five-eighth Hugh Stanley got tangled up with Comets big man Miles Fairbank.
The Rebels number six landed a right hook on the chin of Fairbank and both sides rushed in.
Referee Blake Smoothy send Stanley and Fairbank off.
Minutes later another spot fire erupted after Rebels backrower Dan Randall grabbed Comets captain Steve Spencer by the throat.
Randall and Rebels centre Andrew Kapeen were sin binned, while front rower George Jarrett was sent from the field for running in and allegedly throwing punches.
Comets centre Peter Uikelotu was marched for his involvement.
With 12 minutes still on the clock Smoothy called full-time. Comets were awarded the competition points.