Foley to the fore
By STEVE SPINKS
A BRILLIANT 10 minutes by five-eighth Josh Foley was enough to propel Kyogle to a comprehensive 44-22 victory over Byron Bay in round 12 of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition at New Park, Kyogle, yesterday.
Foley, who has been playing the majority of the season at lock, looked far more at home at pivot as he set players in motion around him.
The Turkeys led 18-16 at half-time after a lacklustre first stanza, but Foley reinvigorated the Turkeys in the first 10 minutes of the second-half.
Their two point lead was suddenly extended to 36-16 with 30 minutes left to play after Foley scored one try and set up one other as the home team finally managed to hang onto possession in the greasy conditions.
"He can be very hard to tackle in that position (five-eighth)," captain-coach Brad Purtell said.
"He dropped a few balls in the first half, but he turned it around."
Foley has been highly regarded at Kyogle for many seasons and he trialled with the Canberra Raiders as a teenager.
However, he has often struggled in a backline lacking penetration.
That is starting to change.
Substitute Phil Charles, centre Simon Pederson, halfback Sam Daley and rookie fullback Tom Ivanusa all contributed strongly and with these players out wide, Kyogle have the sting that can put away a team.
Foley turned the match, but it was on the back of some great momentum by the Turkey forwards, in particular prop Christian Mene, Purtell and second-rower Brent McBride.
McBride had an exceptional game and he is one of the most consistent performers for Kyogle week-in, week-out.
Besides the 10 minute 18-point sprint from the home side, the match failed to reach any great heights.
There were plenty of big hits and plenty of tries, but unfortunately there was also plenty of dropped ball, plenty of penalties and plenty of poor decisions by the players.
At one point late in the first half, the ball was exchanged five times between the teams within two tackles of each set of six.
The conditions weren't the best, but the ball security was simply abysmal.
Accordingly, the players became extremely frustrated and there was some niggle late in the match.
For Byron Bay, it was a disappointing display for a team coming off their first victory last weekend.
However, they were down on men and some players had to back-up from reserve grade and start in firsts.
Props Lincoln Raudonikis and Mark Caldwell produced whole-hearted displays, while halfback Brenton Cochrane was dangerous.