Menu

Devils down Giants in NRRRL preview

 

JC-IMG_4509-(1)-WP-

John Campbell

As pre-season tantalisers go, last Saturday’s Byron Bay Red Devils versus Mullumbimby Giants trial was never going to be up there with the Charity Shield. But it was a game of footy nonetheless, and with both of the ancient enemies keen to improve on last season’s efforts, it was one of serious intent. Local league aficionados approached it with relish.

After promising so much in 2012, the Devils were bundled out of the play-offs without a whimper, whereas the Giants were never in the race in their annus horribilis.

A pale crescent moon floated in a cloudless sky as Ryan ‘the Crab’ O’Connell led the hosts out before an estimated 1,711 keen onlookers.

JC-IMG_4500-(2) WP

In what was intended as an opportunity for the brains trust of each side to mix’n’match new recruits with regulars and get a handle on what their best combinations might be, it was reassuring to see some familiar faces emerge from the sheds. The three Kings were there for the Devils, Chris sporting a seriously deranged Mohawk, along with Sam ‘Tin Legs’ Barnes and evergreen Dwayne ‘Drano’ Cahill. Among Mullum’s die-hards were Max Binkley, Jake Wood, Aaron Cook and Robbie ‘Crazy’ Goodacre, who still hasn’t found any garters to keep his sox up.

Not surprisingly, the early exchanges were marked by incohesion and plenty of dropped ball. Noticeable, however, was Mullum’s willingness for the task – they were quick off their line in defence and, even at this stage, they look a tighter outfit. The Giants were first on the board and took a 4–0 lead to the quarterly break after composed halfback Troy McArthur crossed.

King (Chris), with his aerodynamic skull, showed blinding speed to score a runaway try soon after the resumption before Ben Webber provided the highlight of the afternoon. Collecting an inch perfect banana kick from Barnes, he beat a posse of Giants chasers in a desperate race to the line.

When King (Chris) fanged it down the sideline for his second four pointer, the Devils suggested they might run away with it, but they lost the pill from the kick off and Cook stormed over in the corner to put the Blue and Golds back in the hunt.

The deal was sealed for Byron after a scrum in the Giants’ twenty. King (Chucky), standing at five-eighth, served up a sweetly timed pass for Cahill to cruise in adjacent to the upright. Barnes’s conversion was a formality, giving the Devils a hard earned if not entirely convincing 20–10 win, with Cook icing the fans’ cake by being marched for giving lip to the ref.

It would foolish to attempt any long range predictions, but the commitment shown by all augurs well – this was no slap and tickle outing. The boys got stuck in and Mullum, more structured than in 2012, might just as easily have taken the spoils.

The competition proper kicks off on April 6, with the Bay at home to premiers Murwillumbah and Mullum hosting the Ballina Seagulls at Les Donnelly Field. Get along and make a noise.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers.