Kelly returns from suspension

Byron Bay’s Clarence Kelly.
Byron Bay’s Clarence Kelly.

BYRON BAY rugby league centre Clarence Kelly made a successful return to action in a trial match with the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League representative team on Tuesday night.

It was Kelly's first game back since he was suspended for a head-high tackle playing for Evans Head in the NRRRL semi-finals last season.

"It was great to see Clarence running around again and he scored a number of tries," coach Jamie McCormack said.

"We weren't really keeping score but we got everything out of it that we wanted."

About 22 of the 30-man squad played, with the others missing the game because of injury or work commitments.

McCormack said it would not hinder their chances of making the final team, which will be announced on Sunday night.

"They all had legitimate reasons and I'll have to take them on merit," he said.

"All 30 spots are still up for grabs and nobody that played on Tuesday did their chances any harm."

McCormack was impressed with Marist Brothers lock Leon King and Kyogle captain-coach Cameron Mulchay, who is new to the area from Warwick.

He was also happy with Byron Bay five-eighth Jared De Thierry and the partnership he struck up in the halves with premiership-winning Grafton Ghosts halfback Ryan Farrell.

"Mulchay is an experienced player and definitely caught my eye," McCormack said.

"He might be able to add something to the front-row.

"I'm very confident that we can produce a strong side, with plenty of experience.

"If everyone commits to it I have no hesitation to say we can give it a real good shake."

However, there are some concerns with Byron Bay fullback Ryan O'Connell carrying a knee injury.

McCormack is a highly regarded coach from the Gold Coast. He has worked previously with the Gold Coast Titans and is currently the education and development officer with the QRL.

"I got a great deal out of the trial because I hadn't seen some of the guys play before," he said.

The final 17 will contest the CRL Country Championships against Canberra at Newcastle on June 16.

The team will train at Ballina on May 16 and June 6, with an overnight camp at Evans Head on May 25 and 26.

Topics:  nrrrl

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