Unsung heroics clinch Rebels grand final berth
THE beaming smile could not be removed from the face of a jubilant Dallas Waters following South Grafton's 54-4 shellacking of the Coffs Harbour Comets in the Group 2 first grade major semi-final.
The emphatic victory has booked the Rebels a spot in the Group 2 grand final two weeks away and won them the rights to host it for the first time in 40 years at McKittrick Park.
The match was a heavily one-sided affair with the home side running in 11 tries to one, which Waters said is a testament to his players' defensive efforts.
"I didn't expect that result at all," Waters said. "Coffs are certainly a very experienced side and we expected a hell of a battle.
"The most pleasing aspect was keeping them to only four points in the whole match. That defensive effort sort of won us the game in the end.
"On the goal line we scrambled well and everybody worked hard for each other.
"The boys worked hard from the inside and it paid off allowing our attacking players to work off the solid foundations set by the defence."
While Waters remained in high praise of halfback Ant Cowan, who had a hand in almost all of the 11 tries, he said it was the unsung heroes who allowed them to play with flair.
"Boys like Lukey Welsch and Rhys Walters got through an absolute mountain of defensive work," Waters said. "Along with Stumpy [Grant Stevens], I thought those boys in the middle were the real unsung heroes of our side.
"The best part about this win is how well the players gelled together.
"We have really worked on that culture in our club where we play as a family and we keep turning up for each other."
Nothing showcased the culture Waters has instilled in his men better than when Dwayne Duke scored down the sideline.
"As soon as Dukey put the ball down in the corner all the boys were over the moon for the big fella," he said.
"All the boys from the top grade to the lower grades are one big Rebels family. We win for each other."