ADRIAN Daley scored two tries as Port City Breakers moved to the top of the Group 3 rugby league table following a hard-fought 34-22 win over Macleay Valley on Sunday.
The Breakers didn’t allow a freakish early try disrupt their momentum as they made it four straight wins.
Last year’s premiers found themselves down 6-0 within the first minute before they got into the grind and eventually overran a gallant Mustangs.
Coach Dan Kemp admitted it provided an indication of what Macleay Valley were capable of.
“They scored off the first set of the game within 60 seconds so it certainly wasn’t what we wanted,” he said.
“Kempsey are a good side and can score points from anywhere in the field.”
Sean Barrett, Dan Dumas and Russell Lardner laid the platform up front.
“It was Sean’s best game of the season by far,” Kemp said.
In a match played in steady rain, the coach said there was always going to be some errors.
“It wasn’t a pretty game and turned into a bit of a grind through the middle because it was certainly inhibited by the weather,” he said.
“There was a lot of dropped ball, but it wasn’t bad dropped ball it was just through circumstance.”
Kemp said the Breakers performance was easily their best performance all season when it came to their attitude.
“It was the best we’ve played when it comes to attitude and intent by far.”
Luke Sinclair, Ricky Arnell, Ben Stewart and Lardner all scored tries as the Breakers overturned a 10-6 half-time deficit.
“I was confident coming out after the break because our talk was really good in the sheds,” Kemp said.
The Breakers raced in four tries in 15 minutes after the break to set up the win.
It forced the Mustangs to play catch-up football and their ad-lib style of play wasn’t suited to the conditions.
“I think I saw more chip kicks in one game than we’re likely to see all season,” Kemp said.
“But that unpredictable style of footy is one they’re really good at and for us it was about sticking to the game plan and it worked for us.”
Lock forward Lardner was voted players player in a standout performance.
But the coach said he was ably supported by Richie Roberts and Dumas.
The Breakers didn’t emerge from the match injury-free with Andrew Fox helped from the field after suffering a torn hip muscle.
Regular first-grader Ethan Hyde suffered an ankle injury in his return to reserve grade.
“Some people think we have had a good run with injuries, but Chook Fowler hasn’t played a game all year so he’s got to come back and neither has Jarrod Robbins,” Kemp said.