Bangalow wins first game of the season
BANGALOW won its first game of the season while Ballina made it five in a row to remain undefeated in Far North Coast rugby union.
Winger Chris Bleakley bagged a try-scoring double as Bangalow ran out 44-10 winners over Casino at Schultz Oval, Bangalow, on Saturday.
It wa s a pleasing result for the Rebels as they had to do it without front-rower Otty Fifita, who was at a training camp in Sydney with the NSW Country Cockatoos squad.
Elsewhere, Ballina ran in 12 tries in a 78-0 canter against Southern Cross University at Quays Reserve, Ballina.
Veteran winger Jamie Coote was a late inclusion for Ballina and scored two tries in the first half.
Five-eighth Grant Knight dominated again with flanker Brock Holland a handful for the defence.
Full credit to SCU, which began its warm-up preparations before the game with only 12 players.
In other games, Wollongbar-Alstonville second-rower Steve Mison returned from injury and scored two tries in a 31-3 win over Lennox Head at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.
It was a grand final rematch and the first loss of the season for the Trojans.
The only points for Lennox came in the first half with a penalty goal to centre Martin McNamara.
In an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, the Pioneers won comfortably without five-eighth Ben Damen, No 8 Jerry Faifaise and winger Kalavini Leatigaga, who were away with NSW Country.
In the other game, Grafton beat Lismore City 21-14 at Lismore Rugby Park.
The Grafton front-row was the difference with tight-head prop Beau Brotherson scoring two tries and hooker Sean Austin also crossing for the Redmen.
Lismore remain winless near the bottom of the ladder with Casino.
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FNC RUGBY UNION SCOREBOARD
Ballina 78 (Grant Knight 2, Joel Staude 2, Kye Spence 2, Jamie Coote 2, Ryan Boardman, Joe Jansson, Brock Holland, Chris Long tries; Grant Knight 6, Ryan Boardman 3 conversions) d Southern Cross University 0. Half-time: 59-0.
Wollongbar Alstonville 31 (Steven Mison 2, Justyn Keir, Jarrod Wyllie, Terry Murphy tries; Sam Kerry 3 conversions) d Lennox Head 3 (Martin McNamara penalty goal). Half-time: 19-3.
Bangalow 44 (Chris Bleakley 2, Lewis Jones, Tim Mundy, Jono Roel, Ollie James tries; Matt Morgan 4 conversions, 2 penalty goals) d Casino 10 (Kurt Russell try; Sam Dietrich conversion, penalty goal). Half-time: 27-10.
Grafton 21 (Beau Brotherson 2, Sean Austin tries; Paul Cameron 3 conversions) d Lismore 14 (Ben Briggs, Dean Mathews tries; Chris Clark 2 conversions). Half-time: Grafton 14-0.
Bye: Byron Bay.
Pointscore: Ballina 25, Wollongbar-Alstonville 15, Byron Bay 15, Lennox Head 13, Grafton 9, Bangalow 7, Southern Cross University 5, Lismore 2, Casino 0.
Reserve grade: Ballina 34 d Yamba 0, Wollongbar-Alstonville 35 d Lennox Head 26, Grafton 17 d Lismore 14, Bangalow 10 d Casino 0, Murwillumbah 25 d Evans River 10.
President's Cup: Ballina 19 d Wollongbar-Alstonville 12, Mullumbimby 19 d Kyogle 0, Lismore 33 d Grafton 0.