Bangalow leads tough competition
By MATT ALEXANDER WITH the first round of Far North Coast Village rugby completed, two distinct groups have emerged on the points ladder.
Bangalow leads after a hard-fought 10-8 victory over Evans Head last Saturday. The defending premiers have not lost a game.
The team has shown its determination to win a third title by grinding out tough victories.
Evans Head's season has faltered. After a great start, they have had two losses and a bye and are now equal second.
Another loss this weekend to a resurgent Iluka would see them fall away from the new leaders.
Evans Head pushed Bangalow all the way last Saturday and are still the team with the best chance of defeating the defending premieres.
Woolgoolga had a dour 5-0 win over Byron Bay at Byron Bay, keeping their semi-final campaign on track, but they face a tough second round with few games at home. Iluka defeated Richmond Range 17-8 with a strong second-half comeback.
Despite several on-field discipline problems, it may herald the usual Iluka second-round improvement.
Each year the Iluka Cossacks seem to get better as the season goes on and upset several higher placed teams.
If Iluka can continue to win - especially this weekend where they face Woolgoolga at home - they could possibly make the semi-finals at Woolgoolga's expense.
Range have lost eight competition points for unregistered players taking the field - points that would have had the club threatening Woolgoolga for fourth place.
Kyogle, after a week off, are well placed to remain in the top four with the incentive of knowing they will host the grand final.
Byron Bay's woes continue, with many saying the Wallabies and Byron Bay must watch each others games. Both sides control possession and territory yet allow constant simple errors to mar their performance.
This Saturday, Bangalow host Byron Bay; Woolgoolga face the tough task of Kyogle at Kyogle; and Evans Head will attempt to get their season going forward again when they host Iluka. Richmond Range has the bye. Competition points: Bangalow 23, Evans Head 20, Kyogle 20, Woolgoolga 18, Iluka 9, Richmond Range 6, Byron Bay 4.