Bombers hold off brave Magpies
By DARREN MONCRIEFF
BALLINA Bombers have kept at bay a valiant Byron Magpies side by 25 points in their Summerland Australian Football League (SAFL) clash at Shultz Oval, Bangalow, on Saturday.
While the Bombers held out in their 15.14 (104) to 11.13 (79) win, it was not before the Magpies gave themselves a fighting chance to rein in the league leaders and steal an unlikely victory.
The former glory side of the SAFL has been unable to crack a win over the Bombers and Lismore Swans this season but have been thereabouts in their battles with the two sides.
The Magpies' intensity on Saturday was top notch but they lacked the finish and polish that Ballina has in spades.
Both sides were guilty of being wasteful in front of the sticks but Ballina's overall efficiency and firepower proved the difference.
Key to that was the effort of Pat Bulzomi, who roved the packs superbly and was duly rewarded with five goals.
Team-mate Travis Clarke continued his sensational form of late with a blinder in the middle.
His hard-ball gets from the around the stoppages were a treat to watch.
Swans win big
OVER at Nimbin, however, it was a different story, with the ruthless Lismore Swans crushing an under-manned Nimbin Demons side to the tune of 252 points, 39.28 (262) to 1.4 (10).
Swans forward Adam Rhodes, who possesses some of the safest hands in the league, booted a club record 15 goals in the club's mammoth total. His ability to rake in a strong mark gives his team-mates the confidence to give the ball some air when going forward.
But it was yet another club milestone that had the Swans motivated to play well. Key defender Simon Howard celebrated his 100th game, and he put in a huge effort to mark the occasion.
Making a rare appearance in the centre on Saturday, Howard and his brothers James and Paul provided the Swans with the midfield drive that set up the win.
Nimbin have been struggling with numbers of late. A massive injury toll and several players out with other commitments means the task to carry the team each week is left to a handful of hardy souls.