Blue moon in big Hastings final

Winners: Kendall Blues. Pic: MATT ATTARD
Winners: Kendall Blues. Pic: MATT ATTARD
On the winning side:?Kendall second rower Jarrod Smith.

On the winning side:?Kendall second rower Jarrod Smith.

STARTING well, sticking to the game plan and holding the Comboyne forwards: it was a simple game plan that won Kendall Saturday's 2014 Hastings League grand final at the Lank Bain Sporting Complex.

Blues captain coach Chris Hanlon praised his side's performance in claiming the title 34-20.

"We knew the first 20 minutes was going to be crucial to our chances," Hanlon said after the win. "Comboyne are a very good side that, if they start well, can run over the top of you.

"So we needed to start good, get points on the board and then just hang in there with them when they came back at us. We knew they were going to come back at us and, to their credit, they did just that. But I am very proud of the performance."

Hanlon rattled off half the team as "having awesome games" but pin-pointed Jake Bignall, Jahbe Latham, Alex Pearce and Luke White as being integral to the win.

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That was confirmed when five-eighth Latham was named the Wauchope Gazette player of the grand final.

In the Comboyne camp, coach Troy Bell who announced his retirement after eight years at the helm of the mountain men also praised the winners.

"They've been the better side all year," Bell said succinctly. "They brought their A grade game and we didn't. They deserved the win. I thought they played really well. Full credit to them."

Bell, though, did admit his club and team had "come a long way" in the past eight years where they had contested several deciders.

Some of his best players included Blake Ries who continues to impress double try scoring forward Beavan Castles and Ben Wadwell.

The Blues went to the half time break 16-4 leaders with tries to Jake Kingston, Tyler Smith and Daniel Minns while Alex Pearce landed two conversions. Dennis Jones crossed for the Tigers.

Minns' effort really broke the Tigers' spirit after he burst through some poor one on one defence just 10 metres from his town try line just before half time.

The Tigers did mount a mini comeback immediately after the resumption with tries to Castles and Beau Dorrington and a Kyle Debreceny conversion to get within two points.

Latham and Pearce then crossed for tries with Castles' second try splitting the difference and with eight minutes remaining in the clash the score was a tantalising 28-20.

But four minutes from time bullocking Blues replacement Arnold Turnbull put the issue beyond doubt with a stirring 30 metre run to the tryline.

Go forward: Comboyne's Kyle Debreceny hits it up.

Go forward: Comboyne's Kyle Debreceny hits it up.

This story Blue moon in big Hastings final first appeared on Port Macquarie News.