It’s a bit late in the day for Byron’s Red Devils to be showing their true colours, but it is immensely satisfying to see the boys at last rack up some hard-earned wins.
Before a crowd of 3,814, the Devils threw a spanner in the works of the Evans Head Bombers’ NRRRL finals ambitions with a pulsating 24–20 victory.
It was one of those games in which the full-time hooter could not arrive a minute too soon, as Evans charged at Byron’s line after staging a relentless comeback from being down 24–4.
Nearing the fag-end of the season, Byron’s starting thirteen barely resembled that of their round-one lineup, but a handful of die-hards were there – captain Ryan ‘The Crab’ O’Connell, Billy ‘The Lion’ and Noel ‘Hairy Legs’ King, ‘The Hair Bear’ Joey McCarthy, Martin ‘Liam’ Gallagher – and they all contributed heaps.
The Devils looked the sharper, more cohesive outfit from the get-go. Fullback Brett ‘Sidestep’ Kelly jinked his way through to open the scoring, then five-eighth Adam ‘Ant’ Gordon kicked to the Bombers’ in-goal. Showing blistering speed, King arrived to snaffle the try and with Gordon’s fab sideline conversion, the Bay were ahead 12–0.
Evans jagged one back on the break, but it didn’t seem to matter because, early in the second forty, Kelly gathered a gorgeous bounce to score from a Ben ‘Nugget’ Webber kick and King collected his second after Gordon chipped inch-perfect behind the Bombers’ compressed defence.
Like a fart in a lift though, bad news snuck in as the Bombers’ bigger forwards started to take their toll on the tiring Devils.
Evans had a sniff and when their man-bun, half-back dummied and ran fifty to the white chalk, a sickly feeling of ‘oh no’ came over the ground.
The Devils had done enough to get the points in the first seventy, but as so often happens in footy, they had to hang on to seal the deal in the last ten.
They did that because they were brave and because they played like a team with belief and passion.
The Mullumbimby Giants are still one point ahead of Byron on the NRRRL table despite enduring another heavy loss, 62–4, playing against Murwillumbah on the weekend.
The Giants haven’t been able to regain their early-season form that saw them beat Murwillumbah 16–10 in round three, and their slump has not seen them win a game since mid-May.
Byron Bay have a game in hand on the ladder.