Time on their hands
By STEVE SPINKS
SOUTHERN Cross University were taught an invaluable lesson in time management in their 32-31 loss against Casino at Crozier Field, Lismore, in round 15 of Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast rugby union on Saturday.
Students are often given hints on study habits and the best way to approach a subject.
Obviously, most of the Gold Rats were missing during that lecture.
Uni were given a penalty goal right on half-time right in front of the uprights.
For whatever reason and with no thought of asking the referee how much time was left before the break, the Gold Rats kicked for touch.
Half-time was called immediately after the ball sailed out.
A loss by one point is difficult to take.
But a loss by one point when a team is offered a penalty right in front of the posts, just makes you want to cry.
"I wanted them to have a shot," SCU coach Matt Want said.
"But they kicked for touch.
"They scored a try by going for touch later in the match so I guess they justified that one."
While hindsight is a wonderful thing, a penalty shot right in front is usually a no-brainer.
At the time Uni were only down 24-12, which is hardly a time for panic.
Indeed, straight after the resumption of play Casino showed how it should be done by slotting a three-pointer to fullback Tory Gilmour to blow out their lead to 27-12.
Led by a powerful performance by outstanding young backrower, Henry Vanderglas, the Gold Rats staged a comeback to be within striking distance at 32-24 with 10 minutes on the clock.
However, some stubborn Casino defence kept Uni at arms length until the last minute when the students managed to score a converted try, which earned them an extra bonus point for finishing within seven points.
Bulls hooker Joey Mohammed was happy with his team's effort as it stopped a mid-season slide.
Casino had lost two on the trot before Saturday.
"It was a pretty good game and the teams were pretty even around the park," he said.
But was Mohammed and the Bulls comfortable at 8 points up with little time remaining?
"No, not against them," the hooker said. For the victors, second-rower Marcus McCormack, flanker Jarrad Cameron, No8 Chris Conte and five-eighth Nathan Quirk stood out, while Uni were best served by Vanderglas and inside centre Bob White, who scored two tries.
The Wants Transport Charity Shield was claimed by Casino and $650 was raised for Lifeline.
Ballina fullback Kane Scott rediscovered the attacking brilliance that took him to the NSW Country team as he scored three tries in the Seahorses 57-7 rout of Wollongbar-Alstonville at the Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday.
Scott, who was moved to fullback from the wing for this match, was supreme as he led the charge with his trademark dash.
Reinstated winger James Bolton also scored a triple.
"Kane had a blinder," Ballina president Greg Hart said.
"Bumper (Bolton) also went well, he really reads the game well."
Coach Karl Lupton was a happy man after the win as he made a host of changes to the Seahorse backline after injury and unavailability wrecked selection.
A big part of the superb Ballina backline performance was the shift of Luke Sullivan to inside centre.
The former five-eighth ensured the ball got wide and also took the ball to the line on numerous occasions.
Second-rower Dru Baggaley led a typically vibrant Ballina forward pack well in their convincing victory.
Backrower Josh Nunn and hooker Ben Grayndler toiled hard for the Pioneers, while fullback Teva Majchrzak was a standout at the back.
But it seems Majchrzak is a certainty to head to Sydney in the coming weeks.
A James Olivieri inspired Lismore City produced a strong 22-10 victory over Grafton at Oakes Oval, Lismore, on Saturday.
Olivieri continued his outstanding season in the Greens No7 jersey scoring one try and proving a general menace around the paddock.
"He was everywhere for them," Grafton coach Gary Powell said.
"But their outside centre was very dangerous as well."
The outside centre was Steve Hughes who once again filled in for an injured regular as Nigel Marshall was out with a knee injury.
Hughes has played every position in the Greens backline this season except for five-eighth and inside centre.
Grafton led 5-3 at half-time but City, with a strong scrummaging performance allowing them a good share of possession, stepped up a gear in the second-half.
"They scrummaged a lot better than the last time we played them," Powell said.
"They got a couple of penalties in the second-half and stepped up to another level and we wilted.
"We produced our typical race week performance."
Powell said five-eighth John Chevally, prop Chris Jackson and winger Brett Graham were the pick of the Redmen.