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Byron Shire
March 24, 2023

Rugby thriller casts Shiners into uncharted waters

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Dean Trevaskis

Looking to back up an opening round win the Moonshiners travelled to Ballina on Saturday. A great turnout of green and gold supporters had plenty to cheer early.

Five minutes in Dillon ‘The Charging Bear’ Pyne swooped to intercept a loose Ballina pass. A quick recycle and kick had the opposition fullback under the pump. He failed to kill the ball in goal with Brad Walsh cashing in to score his first Moonshine try.

Discipline around the breakdown, cohesion in the backs and some good kicking for field position had the Shiners pouring the pressure on. Dylan Fitzgerald was using his ample talent, dumping defenders with his palm and dancing through the gaps.

The Shiners’ lead stretched to eight points when Sati Siamoa slotted a penalty. Ballina was relying on their leg speed and kicking to keep them in the game. The willingness of both sides to chance their arm made for a free flowing counter attacking game. It took a Mullum in goal error for Ballina to register their first try. They backed it up with a line break down the clubhouse wing to nose in front 10–8 at the break.

The Shiners’ pack dominated from the restart with Jackson Lewin superb at scrum half. Good rucking, pick and drives and some Ballina indiscretions helped set up a platform to attack. Then the irrepressible Satuala Siamoa tucked the ball to his ample chest, lowered his centre of gravity and drove to the line like a wrecking ball. Dylan Fitzgerald converted the try for a five point lead.

The Shiners pressed hard with line breaks from Scott Hazlewood-Potts in the form of his career and the artful dodger Simon Hutton. When Ballina had the ball Mullum’s tacklers stepped up; big hits from Pyne, Andrews and Vogt had the Ballina faithful losing hope. But with only five points in it and seconds to go a loose Shiners pass gifted Ballina the opportunity to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.

There was a kick, a ball rolling to a stop in goal, a race between a short stocky Mullum veteran and a Ballina greyhound. It looked grim until fullback Dion Vogt dashed from nowhere to save the day. The ref blew his pipe, the fat lady sang and the Moonshine song echoed through the drizzle. The Shiners are in the uncharted territory of 2–0 and have a bye next week before hitting the road to Iluka.


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