Story & photos Eve Jeffery
The Marist Brothers made an early mark in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League 18s and Reggies last Sunday, but it was Ballina who showed their winning hand on the weekend with a smashing win over the Murwillumbah Mustangs at Stan Sercomb Oval.
The under-18s fought a tough game and the Murwillumbah lads need to be congratulated on a valiant effort on the day.
Northern United gave it a shot in the reserves but the Marists just kept creeping forward and stole the day. The sin-binning of two players, one for trouble and one for lip, just 20 minutes before the siren, pretty much sealed the deal, though the Marists’ formidable duo of Dan Kitcher and Aaron Campbell probably had a bit to do with it. The five tries to the former and six goals to the latter were a pretty good effort for a Sunday afternoon on the grass.
Things looked promising for the A Grade Mustangs when within two minutes of the game they scored, but it seems they put all their eggs in one basket and that was it. Finito. No more score you!
Ballina were a serious force and it was clear that they were hungry for a home grand final. In fact they were just hungry full stop. Hungry for possession. Hungry for metres. Hungry for tackles and hungry for try tries.
It was difficult to tell if the Mustangs lost their legs after a hard season or if the Seagulls were just too, too good on the day. A little sin bin for backchat at the eleventh hour saw a Mustang on the sidelines but it had little effect on the game and if this match was anything to go by, Ballina have peaked at exactly the right time and are looking pretty good for a cover shot with the trophy on September 8.
The complete results for the semifinals weekend were:
Saturday August 24
18s – Ghost 14 v Mullumbimby 26
Reserve Grade – Ghosts 20 v Casino 14
First Grade – Ghosts 22 v Byron Bay 6
Sunday August 25
18s – Murwillumbah 14 v Marist Brothers 24
Reserve Grade – Northern United 16 v Marist Brothers 48
First Grade – Murwillumbah 6 v Ballina 36
This leaves the last semi before the big event. The draw for this weekend’s matches are:
18s – Murwillumbah v Mullumbimby
Reserve Grade – Northern United v Grafton Ghosts
First Grade – Murwillumbah v Grafton Ghosts
This Sunday September 1 at Stan Sercomb Oval, Murwillumbah
The 18s kick off at 1130am.
Entry $8, under-16s free.
Please note that entry is $8 for all finals games and $12 for the Grand Final.
The Grand Final will be at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina on Sunday September 8. The Marist Brothers are straight through to the Grand Final for both 18s and Reserve Grade and Ballina are through to the Grand Final for First Grade.