Lennox Head rugby scored a hard-fought 29–15 win over Casino on the weekend to put them just two competition points shy of Far North Coast rugby leaders Wollongbar-Alstonville.
Playing Casino was always going to be a tough game, even at home, and so it was according to first grade coach Jason McCombie.
‘It was a pretty good game. The mauls were contested by both packs and the Casino Bulls put in a lot of fight,’ he said.
At half-time the Lennox Trojans were leading 12–8, and it stayed pretty tight right up to the last quarter of the game.
‘In the last 20 we started to play more open running rugby, and our passing game came together and we started scoring,’ he said.
The difference in the score line came down to a pair of tries scored late in the game by winger and local schoolboy Tasman de Groot.
It was Tasman’s second run-on game with first grade and was backing up on Saturday after an early run in reserve grade.
Jason was happy with the win especially considering two players from the regular side pulled out earlier in the day owing to sickness.
Mick Muire and Nick Bordin both celebrated their 100 games (even though Nick has actually run on 130 times).
The Trojans have been enjoying a good season and only lost first place on the ladder when they were beaten by last year’s premiers, the Wollongbar Alstonville Pioneers.
A lot of this year’s success comes on the back of a depth of players that in turn can be traced back to the development effort put into the junior Trojans, he said.
Player depth will become increasingly important towards the end of the season particularly as the top of the table is so tight, with no clearly dominant team.
Ballina are currently in third place on 25 points, behind Lennox Head (33) and the Pioneers (35), but they beat the table leaders on the weekend 56–39.
Last year’s runners-up Byron Bay have also started to gel and have posted back-to-back wins, including a 47–0 victory over Lismore in Lismore, to move into fourth place (21) on the table.
Ballina and Byron Bay each have a game in hand.
‘The competition is very even and the standard of rugby is better than it has been,’ he said.
Confidence and keeping players free from injury will be the keys to success in the run to the finals.
‘We are improving all the time and will be a much better side come finals time,’ Jason said.