The Byron Bay Red Devils enjoyed their first win of the 2017 season when they romped home against a lacklustre Mullumbimby side 36–4.
As local derbies go, there was a curious lack of intensity when the Red Devils hosted the Giants on Sunday.
Winless and motherless last on the NRRRL ladder, and with a number of players backing up from the lower grades, the Devils looked to be on a hiding to nothing when the Blue and Golds came sauntering into town.
But with 30 minutes still to go and trailing only 18–4, Mullum were a well-beaten side – and Byron were all over them.
The final score of 36–4 is a fair reflection of how the game unfolded before an estimated crowd of 5,481 basking in the winter sunshine.
The Devils grew in confidence as that elusive first win loomed closer and the Giants inexplicably drifted from ineffective to inept.
Mullum winger Troy ‘Hektor’ McArthur scored the simplest of tries to put the visitors ahead and it looked to many that it would be another hard day at the office for the hosts.
Byron responded with a new-found mean-spiritedness – they hustled and bustled and, without attempting champagne footy, started to force errors from a Mullum outfit that gave the impression that all they had to do was turn up to get the two competition points.
Unexpectedly, the Devils churned upfield with a no-nonsense set of one-out running (in which tireless lock Matt ‘Liam’ Gallagher took two hit-ups, as he did almost all arvo). Winning a scrum feed, Brett ‘the Step’ Kelly drew a posse of defenders before getting a one-hander away to Tyrone ‘Power’ Kelly, who crossed to put Byron on the board. Willo ‘Jesse’ James bulldozed his way over soon after and the Devils were ahead at the break, 12–4.
The second forty was all Byron.
Everybody’s favourite winger, Billy ‘the Lion’ King, got a brace of tries – the second when he soared like a NASA rocket to collect a fabulous bomb from Adam ‘Weightwatcher’ Gordon – and James got another to take it out to 30–4.
Mullum were done like a dinner, excelling only at throwing forward passes and going through the motions.
The best was saved until last, when the tall blond second-rower, Connor ‘Casban’ Wilson, charging fearlessly like a rhino on the right of the ruck, ran on to a pass at a beautiful angle and executed a perfect swan dive over the line for a richly rewarded try. Onya Connor!
Not many derbies end 36–4, but the Devils earned it on Sunday.
It’s good to see a footy team deserve a win. But where were you, Giants?