Makings of a good lineout link
By STEVE SPINKS
CASINO flanker Shaun Makings highlighted the Bulls' emphatic 45-8 victory over Southern Cross University literally in round 15 of Coopers Far North Coast Rugby Union.
Makings, who is around 190cm tall, not only excelled in the loose as a linkman between the Bulls' impressive backline and forward pack, but also rose to great heights in the lineout to ensure the home team plenty of possession at Albert Park, Casino, yesterday.
The rangy backrower, in only his second season of first grade, has helped transform the Bulls' Achilles heel, the lineout, into a potent weapon.
"There's not much of him," Casino coach Mark Collison said.
"He's only about 85kg but he does a lot of work in the lineout.
"We've certainly always lacked height and I remember we've played games knowing we weren't going to win any lineout ball at all.
"He adds that little bit and he's starting to come into his own."
Considering lineouts dominate the modern game, it's easy to see how Makings has become an integral part of the Bulls' premiership hopes.
Makings was shifted by Collison from his normal position of No 8 to openside flanker on Saturday to give the youngster more freedom in attack ... and the move has worked well.
"He's linking with the backs pretty well and he's pretty quick," Collison said.
The Bulls led 17-3 at half-time with the students still in the match.
However, the second 40 minutes proved disastrous for the Gold Rats as the home team ran in a further four tries highlighting a return to form and cruising into third spot on the competition ladder. Besides Makings, centres Dan MacDonald and Richie Allen played well with Uni best served by Jack Woods at flanker, Willie Fairweather at halfback and Brendan Brookes at centre. Seahorses big winners
Meanwhile, at the Quay's Reserve, Ballina had a comfortable 34-0 home victory over the improving Lennox Head.
Lennox are only in their second season in first grade since moving up from the Village competition and showed that the local seaside derby could develop into a major drawcard for both communities.
"Lots of guys know each other from both sides so there is always plenty of feeling," Trojans coach Barry Kiddle said.
"But we still get that feeling that they treat us like poor little brothers."
The Seahorses galloped to a 17-0 lead at half-time and there were thoughts that a blow-out was in store.
"During the first game of the season against them it was 17-0 at half-time and we lost 77-7," Kiddle said.
"But we defended better and did reasonably well."
Ballina's best were centres, Ben Sattler and Andrew Gordon, and tight-head prop Nathan Wallace.
Corey Windle, Eddie Boston and Nathan Durkin were the pick of the Trojans. Redmen surging At Rugby Park Grafton, the Redmen continued their premiership surge with a convincing 39-12 victory over Wollongbar-Alstonville.
The Pioneeers shocked the home team with their intensity and an early try, but the reigning premiers absorbed the pressure and rocketed to a 17-7 half-time lead, and they were always going to be hard to stop from there.
"They say winning is a habit," Grafton coach Gary Powell said.
"The boys were used to losing, but now they have the taste of victory it's just not an option anymore."
Centre Ken Mercy and Jon Chevally proved difficult to contain and Pioneers coach Dave Graham lamented a lack of speed out wide to counter.
"We just started to lose control of the ball and they ground us down,"he said.
"They have real strike power out wide and while our forwards went well we were found out in the speed department."
Best for Grafton included Chevally, Mercy and props Dan Haynes and Scott Forwell.
Michael Wilson, Kent Sharman, Terry Murphy and Matt Scott played prominent roles for Wollongbar.
In the other match, Coolangatta-Tweed defeated Yamba 25-12. Round 15
First grade: BALLINA 34 (Andrew Gordon, Ben Sattler, Andrew Rowlands, Trent Gasnier, Dru Baggaley, Paul Davies tries; Andrew Gordon, Trent Gasnier conversions) d LENNOX HEAD 0.
GRAFTON 39 (Gary Powell, Nathan Cooper, Paul Cameron, Brett Graham, Ken Mercy, Steve Gallagher, Scott Lloyd tries; Trent Dickson 2 conversions) d WOLLONGBAR-ALSTONVILLE 12 (Luke Nunn, Jascha Saeck tries; Ben Damen conversion). Half-time: Grafton 17-7.
CASINO 45 (David Briggs Jnr 2, Richard Allen, Dan McDonald, Nathan Quirk, Luke Serone, Matthew McCormack tries; Dywayne Corrigan 5 conversions) d SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY 8 (Adam Penfold try; James Wivell penalty goal). Half-time: Casino 17-3.
COOLANGATTA-TWEED 25 (Afa Sauia 2, Phil Heath, Hugh Green tries; Todd Heywood conversion, penalty goal) d YAMBA 12 (Paul Hope, Liam Jones tries; Kris Thomsen conversion).
Competition ladder: Grafton 62, Ballina 40, Casino 38, Coolangatta-Tweed 38, Lismore 32, Wollongbar-Alstonville 32, Yamba 31, SCU 15, Lennox Head 0.
Reserve grade: Casino 43 d SCU 5, Ballina 46 d Mullumbimby 7, Grafton 22 d Wollongbar 0, Coolangatta 24 d Yamba 13.
Under 19s: Grafton 19 d Wollongbar 5, Lismore 36 d Evans River 12.
Third grade: Wollongbar 17 d Grafton 5, Ballina 19 d Mullumbimby 0.
Woolgoolga 50 d Byron Bay 0, Bangalow 20 d Evans River 9, Richmond Range v Iluka (not played).