As a geopolitical analogy, Byron Bay’s NRRRL clash with competition leaders Cudgen on Sunday was like Poland taking on a Superpower, and thus the 42–0 scoreline.
The Hornets have an enormous clubhouse and enough poker machines to bankroll a dozen bush footy teams. They’re so flush they can afford an electric scoreboard that splits seconds.
Their poor cousins from the south, Byron’s Red Devils, made up of good old boyos, turned up on Sunday on a hiding to nothing, and if the records suggest that they duly received that hiding it had nothing to do with the effort that the Devils always put in.
Coming up against a quality side like Cudgen was always going to be a test of their heart and soul. The boys passed that test with flying colours, but the scoreboard never records such details, even when it is electronic.
They were never in the race against a side that was a bit more settled, a side that had more pace where it was needed when breaks were made, as well as a side that had had a few extra kilos in the forwards and knew exactly what they were doing at every moment. The Devils harried them as best they could, and hit them hard in every tackle, but the Hornets never lost their composure. This is the difference between teams closing in on a grand final and those trying to avoid the wooden spoon.
Everything the Devils did smacked of uncertainty and anxiety. They had enough opportunities inside the other mob’s twenty to score a handful of tries, but they blew it every time. When Cudgen got a look-in they nailed it.
As the second half wore on, fatigue set in among those Devils who had already gone around for the reggis and they dropped like flies.
That’s how footy works.
Go the Bay!
Everybody in the Shire who loves rugby league was devastated to hear that Mullumbimby, after one-hundred years of playing would not be fielding a team in this season’s NRRRL comp. If you want to help get the mighty Blue-and-Golds back at Les Donnelly Field next season, come along to the club’s AGM at the clubhouse on 11 August. All welcome.