Sport

NRRRL finishing 2014 comp about where we thought it would

SEMIS BOUND: Casino fullback Roy Bell passes the ball during the game against Byron Bay at Queen Elizabeth Park in Casino on Sunday. The Cougars will take part in the NRRRL semi-finals on Saturday.
SEMIS BOUND: Casino fullback Roy Bell passes the ball during the game against Byron Bay at Queen Elizabeth Park in Casino on Sunday. The Cougars will take part in the NRRRL semi-finals on Saturday. Marc Stapelberg

FOUR out of five ain't bad.

Making bold predictions in April about where teams will finish at end of the season in the NRRRL is never easy.

Picking the defending premiers from 2013 to finish first might have seemed like an easy choice but it was far from it.

It was only at the conclusion of the final round on Sunday that Ballina claimed the minor premiership out from under Murwillumbah.

Kyogle and Murwillumbah led the competition for most of the year and emerged as favourites in the second half of the season.

Elsewhere, Casino has won five straight and easily could have finished third as predicted in April if other results went their way

The Cougars have not played semi-finals in years and if recent form is anything to go off they won't just be there to make up the numbers.

Same can be said for Kyogle who have had wins against every team that has made semi-finals except Byron Bay.

Byron Bay was thumped 28-6 against Casino on Sunday but should be a different beast at home when they host the Cougars again in the elimination semi-final at Red Devil Park on Saturday.

The Red Devils were the only one of the five teams I thought might have missed out on the semi-finals at the start of the season.

Losing three players to Queensland Cup had a fair bit to with that early assessment however two of them returned.

Byron Bay might have been below their best against Casino on Sunday but I honestly believe any team in the top five can win the competition from here.

Kyogle will be confident of going back to Murwillumbah and doing the job on Sunday.

If successful they will be one win away from hosting the grand final next month.

Elsewhere, Mad Monday celebrations were in full force for Marist Brothers, Northern United, Mullumbimby, Evans Head and Lower Clarence yesterday.

There was a big gap between the top and bottom placed teams. Brothers, United and Mullumbimby were all competitive at times but either lacked consistency, struggled with depth or suffered from injuries.

Evans Head probably deserved a couple more wins while it was another tough year for Lower Clarence who didn't win a game.

Predicted finish

  1. Ballina
  2. Murwillumbah
  3. Casino
  4. Kyogle
  5. Northern United
  6. Marist Brothers
  7. Byron Bay
  8. Mullumbimby
  9. Evans Head
  10. Lower Clarence

How they finished

  1. Ballina 30
  2. Murwillumbah 29
  3. Kyogle 27
  4. Byron Bay 26
  5. Casino 26
  6. Marist Brothers 14
  7. Northern United 12
  8. Mullumbimby 10
  9. Evans Head 6
  10. Lower Clarence 0

Topics:  nrrrl



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