There was a rugby league reunion of sorts at Lismore’s Crozier Field on Saturday when Byron Bay came up against a number of former Devils who are now playing for Northern United.
One of them, winger Bill King, marked the occasion by racking up a hat-trick of tries – thanks for that, mate.
Otherwise the trip was reasonably successful for the Bay, with the Under-18s showing what they are capable of in their stunning 42–10 victory and the reserves, with man-bun lock Reece ‘iMoo’ Egan bagging a double, flogging the Dirrawongs to the tune of 52–6. This was a crucial victory for the reggies, who are now well placed to fly the club’s colours in the upcoming semis.
It was a different story in A-grade, however. As has so often been the case this season, with a handful of the boys yet again backing up after being involved in the prelims, the Devils ran out of steam and ended up getting done 32–18. It’s a score that in no way reflects the keenness of the contest.
King registered his first meat pie early in the piece, but the Devils returned serve soon after when centre-come-secondrower Toby ‘Zoats’ Ryan stormed in under the black dot. Joey ‘The General’ Gordon’s conversion made it 6–4 and Byron were in the lead – which is where they hadn’t been for too many weeks to remember.
The Dirrawongs, eyeing a spot in the play-offs, had more to play for and it began to show in their performance. They were sharper, they were faster and they were winning the ruck. Byron, whose play-the-ball was glacial compared to the other mob’s, did well to only trail by 14–6 at the break.
The second forty began inauspiciously for the visitors when they dropped the pill in the first set, but life was breathed into the game soon after when Brad ‘Bruce’ Lees took advantage of a United error to sprint fifty metres to the sticks.
The Devils then ratcheted it up a gear. When dummy-half Tom ‘Deano’ Martin chipped and regathered close to the line the Bay looked good things for their 18–14 lead. United were rattled by the shift in the balance of powers and if they were narked on the field, the crew in the grandstand were doubly so.
Neither side showed any willingness to relent as the battle intensified, but the Dirrawongs, with more possession, wore down their opponents.
It was a spirited game of footy, and the Devils showed typical commitment; they have played with enormous heart but no luck.
For all those interested in the good of the game in our Shire, the Mullumbimby Giants’ AGM will be held this Thursday 11 August at the clubhouse.
Go, the Bay!