Comets Victorious 7's Championship Winners 2013
Comets prove they are up to speed
- Greg White
- 16th February 2013 8:19 PM
HAPPY HENDY: Coffs Harbour forward Matt Hendy carts the ball from defence in the final of the Group 2 Sevens competetion against Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate
NEW coach Colin Speed found immediate success in his first official outing with Coffs Harbour rugby league club at BCU International Stadium today.
The Comets won a third Group 2 Sevens title in four seasons by downing defending champion Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 22-16 in difficult slippery conditions.
After trading early tries with the Magpies, Coffs went to the break leading 8-4 following a neat touchdown in the corner from Cameron Kelleher.
Coming back, the rookie under-18 went over once again to give his side a handy buffer and while Bellingen kept chasing hard, being forced into catch-up mode proved decisive as time ran out in the final seven-minute half.
Of the four teams on display across the tournament, Coffs Harbour had arguably the most experience despite many players running shoulders for the first time.
However, coach Speed played down that angle as a reason for success.
"I think the underlying factor is not so much experience," he said.
"We've pulled these guys together from everywhere but the continuity they are showing and by putting together things learned at training, it's paid off.
"The signs are looking good."
Speed introduced two of his English imports and mixed in a handful of juniors for a taste of the top grade, with representative halfback Nathan Curry calling the shots.
One interesting addition is former junior Dan Killian who is likely to make an impact after returning from a season in Queensland.
"Dan could be one of our props and Nathan at seven but really, all our positions are up for grabs," Speed admitted.
"At the moment we've got really good depth within those areas and with a few more trials to go, there are good signs."
Bellingen coach Maurie Hulbert had a lot to be pleased about after his young side's fine effort.
"A few of the kids were surprised by the speed and got a rude shock at how quick it was," he said.
"Saying that, they came good and the longer it went, the better it got."
Hulbert will continue to test players in several positions, starting next weekend in the Matthew Locke MG Memorial match against Australian Army Thunder at Bellingen Park.
"There are a couple of little things still to iron out," he said.
"I was happy with the performance and to get so close to Coffs and to still keep coming back was fine."
Sawtell went within a whisker of cementing a spot in the final.
They were leading Orara Valley 18-0 in the qualifier but let in a try with seconds remaining and were relegated on percentages.
Coach Eddie Harrison still looked mighty pleased.
"Our plan was to start strong but the main thing was to have fun," he said.
"Very hard to run interchange when you have seven on the field and the rest trying to get on in limited time."
The Panthers used the first match to get their bearings but looked very sharp in patches during the second outing.
Evergreen Nathan Davies was in devastating form and was arguably the classiest player of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Orara Valley co-coach used the day as a team-building exercise.
"I was very happy as we lacked first grade experience," he said.
Bye was smacking his lips after the effort of young prop forward Ben Groenewegen who showed touches of class and will be given every opportunity to unleash his unlimited potential during the season proper.
2013 Group 2 Rugby League Sevens Championship
Final - Coffs Harbour d Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 22-16
Game 1 - Coffs Harbour d Sawtell 10-0
Game 2 - Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo d Orara Valley 22-14
Game 3 Coffs Harbour d Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 12-10
Sawtell d Orara Valley 18-4