Under-18 Rebels surge, but leave fightback too late
UNDER-18: South Grafton's Rebels showed fight plenty of fight in their 26-18 loss to Coffs Harbour Comets, but it came to late in the day to be effective.
Coffs Harbour used its big pack, led by prop Blake Howle, to grind down the Rebels, who struggled to bring the big men to ground.
In defence, the Comets hits with two, three or four men in each tackle, which made it hard for the Rebels to make similar inroads.
The space this provided allowed the Comets halves, Seth Martin and Max Shaw, to run riot.
Shaw scored the opening try early in the game as the Rebels lost possession bringing the ball off their goal line.
He may have been lucky the referee missed a possible strip, but Shaw capitalised, stepping past the disorganised Rebels defence to touch down.
But there was no mistake minutes later when the Rebels were penalised for an incorrect play the ball.
Fullback Joe Donovan capitalised to score in the right corner, giving the visitors a 10-0 lead after eight minutes.
Those eight minutes characterised the rest of the game, bar the last 15 minutes when the Rebels came to life.
Perhaps their efforts had tired the Coffs big men, but the Rebels surged back, even though the clock was against them.
Trailing 26-4, the Rebels piled on three tries, including a spectacular high mark from Damian Kirby from a Jogan Gallagher bomb.
Interchange prop Johen Connor powered over from close to the line and winger Isaiah Thornton finished off a sweeping backline move in the dying seconds of the game.