Axemen win the grind
Orara Valley forwards on top in battle
ORARA Valley has drawn first blood over fierce rival Coffs Harbour in the battle for the Ken Orr Memorial Shield.
The Axemen were too strong for Coffs Harbour, winning 29-24 on the back of a strong performance by Orara’s young forwards.
Coming up against a big reputation pack, the young Axemen rolled up their sleeves to make good yards and stop the opposition from laying a platform their dangerous backs could play off.
Coffs Harbour coach Brandon Costin said his forwards had to accept some responsibility for the loss after having their colours lowered by the Axemen.
“And the same thing happened against Sawtell,” Costin lamented.
“If you asked me where our strength is, I’d say it’s in our forwards and maybe I need to re-look at who’s in that pack because it’s just not happening.
“We didn’t lay a platform. We didn’t even touch the ball in that first 10 to 15 minutes.”
Meanwhile the North Coast under-23 representative team is through to the semi-finals of the Country Championships.
Made up of Group 2 and Group 3 players, the North Coast team proved far too strong for CRL Newcastle.
While Port City fullback Owen Blair scored a hat-trick in the convincing 44-16 win, Group 2 players Zac Johnson (Nambucca Heads), Joe McKay (Macksville) and Orara Valley pair Luke Beaumont and Michael Hart also scored.
The semi-final is being played on Saturday at Sawtell against Northern Rivers.
NONE SHALL PASS: Coffs Harbour prop Matt Cheeseman is stopped in his tracks by the Orara Valley forwards during the first battle of 2018 for the Ken Orr Memorial Shield.