Tight win puts Casino on top
By STEVE SPINKS
CASINO leapt to the top of the Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast rugby union competition with a hard-fought 17-15 victory over Lismore City at Albert Park, Casino, on Saturday.
Inspired by a non-stop effort from barrell-chested second-rower Marcus McCormack, the Bulls overcame a 15-3 half-time deficit to notch their first victory over City in six starts.
McCormack was at the centre of the Bulls' fightback with a physical performance in the middle of the ruck.
"His general work rate was just fantastic," Casino coach Mick Russell said.
"He toiled all day, made no errors and was just in everything in the middle of the tram tracks."
McCormack made his first-grade debut only this year.
The 20-year-old moved up from Under-19s this season and was a key performer in the Far North Coast Under-20s' march to the Northern Provincial Championship final at Aussie Stadium earlier in the year.
Normally a hooker, McCormack has been transformed into a second-rower due to the Bulls' depth in the front row.
According to Russell, Casino's first half on Saturday was disastrous, with nothing going to plan.
However, the Bulls steadied after the break, tightened their defence and started to have more respect for possession.
Winger Scott Lambeth stole the lead for the hosts 15 minutes from home and they never looked back.
McCormack, No8 Chris Conte, flanker Jarrad Cameron and five-eighth Nathan Quirk were the pick of the Casino side, while centre Mitch Mowle and No8 Damien Maher played well for City.
IF Yamba ever win a Far North Coast rugby first-grade grand final ... look out.
The Buccaneers broke through for their first victory in first grade on Saturday since moving up from the lower grades, downing Wollongbar-Alstonville 25-12 at Yamba.
The reaction of supporters and players after the match was almost akin to a grand final victory.
Late yesterday afternoon Yamba club officials were still unable to be contacted as they celebrated with a golf day.
As for the match, details are sketchy.
However, referee Ian Hooper awarded the best and fairest points to flanker and captain Paul Hope, halfback Ben Ralston and fullback Adrian Miller.
Uni pinches points
A PENALTY goal by Southern Cross University fullback Pat McMahon on the stroke of full-time salvaged a 27-24 victory for the Gold Rats over Ballina at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday.
Scores were locked 24-all with only seconds to go when the home team gave away a penalty for a high tackle.
McMahon coolly slotted the penalty to give the Gold Rats their second last-minute victory over the Seahorses this season.
Second-rower Brendan Brookes, centre Bob White, prop Dan Richards and No8 Daniel Doyle were outstanding for Uni, while the Seahorses were best served by centre Matt Wiggins, second-rower Mick Koellner and No8 Dru Baggaley.