Dru simply dynamite
By STEVE SPINKS A WHOLE-HEARTED performance by Ballina No 8 Dru Baggaley helped lift the Ballina Seahorses to an exciting 19-all draw with runaway competition leaders Grafton at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday in Coopers Far North Coast rugby union.
Grafton, which last lost a game last season on their way to the premiership, were lucky to escape after Baggaley helped bullock the Seahorses to an early lead only to see the Redmen score with five minutes left to get the draw.
"Dru (Baggaley) was in top form," Ballina coach Andrew Grant-Frost said.
"He's an absolute tin of dynamite and he's one of those players who has a huge heart, is very competitive and very fit."
Baggaley's rare form has been helped by his move from the second-row, giving the rangy forward more opportunity to run the ball.
A former basketballer and surf club competitor, Baggaley started his first grade career with Byron Bay at the back of the scrum but has since played in the tight forwards since his move a few years ago to Ballina.
Others to stand out were winger Trent Gasnier and halfback Troy Nichols.
Ballina led 14-7 at half-time following early tries to five-eighth Tony Buchanan and captain Andrew Gordon. Soon after the break, the home team crossed again with Trent Short giving the hosts a 19-7 advantage.
But the Redmen clicked back into gear and clinched the draw through a late converted try.
"We'll take the draw," Grant-Frost said.
"We had numerous chances to win it but we took a couple of wrong options."
Those wrong options included an inclination to go for tries instead of taking shots at penalty goal when the points were on offer.
"Our captain backed his forwards, but I always believe taking the points wins games," Grant-Frost said. "It will be an interesting semi-final down there."
Ballina will meet Grafton in the major semi-final at Grafton in two weeks.