Emotional Giants sound a warning
THE death of a much-loved supporter helped spur Mullumbimby to a 44-14 demolition of joint competition leaders Ballina in the penultimate round of Retravision Northern League at Les Donnelly Field, Mullumbimby, on Saturday night. Barry Robinson, a long-time supporter of the Giants, died last Monday and both sides observed a minute's silence before the match. Watched on by Robinson's widow Lola, Mullumbimby held their emotions in check to destroy the Seagulls in an eight-tries-to-three romp. "It's been a pretty emotional week," Mullum coach Damon Scott said. "Barry was a great supporter of the club and that's been on all our minds with the funeral on Monday." Controlling emotions can be a tough job. Having fun However, the Giants, to a man, turned in a passionate display that showcased everything that is good in country rugby league. They worked for each other in defence, scrambled hard and scored some amazing tries. And perhaps most importantly, they looked like they were having fun in front of a large home crowd. "It was our best performance of the season," Scott said. "We talked about what we needed to do and the boys had a flawless attitude in carrying it out." About the only glaring mistake the Giants made was from the kick-off with five-eighth Travis Drought kicking the ball dead on the full. From the penalty, Seagulls second-rower Eddie Killingbeck who was by far the best Ballina player on the field scored to give the visitors a 6-0 lead after only one minute. But from there it was all Mullum. Tries to speedster Jy Hitchcock, Murray Brown, Joel Christie and Drought put the home side out by 22-6 before Ballina clawed one back through centre Brenton Cochrane just before half-time. However, any thoughts of a Seagulls fightback were quashed five minutes into the second half. By that time second-rower Jay Hampson and winger Sam Grant had scored to give the Giants a 32-10 lead and the match. The remaining 35 minutes served as a warning to the rest of the competition as Mullum ground Ballina away without any let-up. The Giants' forward pack, led by lock Damien Bryant, were remorseless. They outplayed their much-vaunted rivals and punched so many gaps through the middle of the Ballina ruck that a B-double truck could have been driven through any of the gaping holes without being touched by the Seagulls defence. Bryant, Hampson, props Rick Oxley (who starred with a late conversion) and Joe Robinson and Brett Archibald all deserved special mention. Centre Jamie Coote, fullback Brown, winger Hitchcock and Drought also played strongly. , MULLUMBIMBY 44 (Jy Hitchcock 2, Murray Brown, Joel Christie, Travis Drought, Jay Hampson, Sam Grant, Scott Hogan tries; Travis Drought 4, Troy Johnstone, Rick Oxley goals) d BALLINA 14 (Eddie Killingbeck, Brenton Cochrane, Sam Grant tries; Andrew Battese goal). Half-time: Mullumbimby 22-10. Referee: Dion Aldridge. Reserve grade: MULLUMBIMBY 14 d BALLINA 10. Under-18s: BALLINA 24 d MULLUMBIMBY 18.