City back on track
By STEVE SPINKS
LISMORE City shrugged off their first loss in 12 months last week to overcome arch rivals Southern Cross University 18-13 in a controversial match in Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast rugby union at Lismore Rugby Park on Saturday.
Led by flanker Jamie Olivieri, City hit the lead with 10 minutes remaining and did enough to hold out the Gold Rats.
They were aided by Uni finishing the match with 13 players after referee Ian Hooper sin-binned inside centre Chase Manger and No8 Dan Doyle in the final 10 minutes.
Magner was sin-binned for repeated team professional fouls and Doyle was yellow-carded for rucking.
It meant the students had little chance of pegging back the Greens' lead in the final moments.
But it was Olivieri who was the talking point after the match.
The tireless flanker earned the best and fairest points from the referee and along with fellow loose forward Heath Conlan proved a menace at the breakdown all day.
SCU coach Matt Want even lauded the breakaway's efforts.
"He (Olivieri) went well along with Heath," Want said.
Olivieri has transformed himself in the past couple of seasons.
From being an able back-up first-grader, Olivieri is now an integral member of the Greens' back row.
He also earned Far North Coast selection this season.
The powerfully built flanker is now one of the fittest loosies is the zone and his non-stop attitude is an asset to his team.
There was never anything in the game on Saturday.
City led 6-3 at half-time courtesy of two penalty goals to five-eighth Daniel O'Brien, but it was equalled just after half-time by Uni pivot Damien Thom.
The hosts then scored through Conlan but again the students hit back, this time through substitute back Matt Flanagan for a 13-all scoreline.
However, five minutes later fullback John Lea crossed and Magner was sin-binned straight after as the referee had played advantage.
When Doyle was sin-binned, any chance the Gold Rats had was nullified.
Scrums were even, but Lismore dominated the line-out with No8 Ray Taylor and second-rower Adrian McGrath prominent.
Lismore centre Nigel Marshall continued his good form with another strong performance, while Conlan also produced his usual energetic effort.
For Uni, second-rower Jim Wallace, Doyle and flanker Bill Ringland played well.
Redmen win again
GRAFTON won their second consecutive match, running out convincing 36-10 victors over Wollongbar at Grafton Rugby Park on Saturday.
The Redmen scored five tries to two with inside centre Paul Allen and five-eighth John Chevally starring in the backline.
Chevally scored two tries and proved difficult to stop.
Again it was the Redmen forwards who paved the way with captain and No8 Rob Brown outstanding.
Grafton led 26-0 at half-time, but it was the first 20 minutes of the first half when the damage was done.
Wollongbar flanker Kent Sharman played strongly.
Yamba go close
YAMBA coach Richard Almond called it another one that got away as Casino scored in the dying moments to clinch a thrilling 23-17 victory at Yamba.
The Buccaneers led 17-16 before a clinical try by the big Casino forwards pushed the visitors in front.
It was the third time this season that Yamba have got desperately close to their first top grade win, only to see the match stolen in the final quarter.
Halfback Ben Ralston, winger Tristan Allard and flanker Paul Hope were outstanding for the home team while Casino were best served by fullback Tory Gilmour and forward Marcus McCormack.
Almond was very happy that his young side matched one of the best teams in the zone, but he admired the Bulls' forward pack that raised another notch after half-time with the Buccaneers leading 14-3.