Story and photo John Campbell
Every year, the Byron Bay Red Devils ask that their bye be allocated to the weekend of Splendour in the Grass, as they are most drastically affected by absenteeism it causes.
And every year, presumably because they want to make an utter joke of their own product, those responsible for the NRRRL draw shoot themselves and the greatest game of all in the foot by dismissing Byron’s request.
The result on Sunday was that the Devils kicked off against Marist Brothers with only twelve players, the thirteenth arriving with Byron already behind on the scoreboard.
The Papists, with former Devils Chris King and Joey Gordon running riot, went at better than a point a minute to be ahead 44–0 at half-time, at which time the mercy rule was invoked and the game called off.
Is the NRRRL happy about that?
Let me tell you something for nothing: the punters who travelled and paid at the gate to see a contest were not. No wonder rugby league is losing its way in our area.
Captain Ryan ‘The Crab’ O’Connell, the big Pommie with the fab off-load, Dominic ‘Ilkley’ Maloney and prop Tom ‘Hardy’ McMahon tried hard, as did all of the boys, and it was most pleasing to see Noel ‘Hairy Legs’ King land one on the Papist grub who was getting away with repeated elbows, but Brothers, poncing around like flat-track bullies against a hapless opponent, were always going to win.
Women lose too
Earlier, the Byron Women’s League tag team, hitherto unbeaten, went down 10–0 to Marist Brothers (Sisters?) in an open and entertaining encounter.
The girls’ game is basically the same, but with a couple of significant alterations. At the end of the set of six tackles, or following a knock-on, there is no scrum, merely a handover of possession.
Tackling is also not called for. Instead the defending players need to detach a tag worn at the attacking runner’s waist to halt their progress –meaning that, without being brutal, it is a bit more physical than touch footy.
Currently it is a six-team comp and it is easy to see how Byron’s Devilettes (?) had come to win eight in a row.
They are well drilled and skilful and, even better, it’s obvious that the result means something to them.
They are there to have fun, but they are in it to win it.
The game is open and fast moving, so don’t miss out.