Bay's warning shot in NRRRL
BYRON BAY has fired a warning shot with a hard-fought 18-12 win over defending premiers Tweed Coast in Ladbrokes Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
The astute kicking game of captain-coach Todd Carney proved the difference as the Red Devils ran in back-to-back tries in the second half of the game at Byron Bay on Saturday.
It gave them an 18-8 lead in the 66th minute, with both coming from Carney's kicks.
Hooker Andrew Battese scored from the back of a scrum before centre Dan Gibson capitalised on a kick that went between an opponent's legs.
It was game on when Raiders winger Daryl Brooks scored in the 71st minute as both sides threw everything at each other in the final exchanges.
Fullback Mitchell Krause was the biggest casualty for the Red Devils, coming off late with a head knock, while hooker Dan Willoughby worked overtime for Tweed Coast.
The Raiders lost only two games - both to Ballina - last season while Byron Bay managed to win only three and just avoid the wooden spoon.
The best thing for Byron Bay is they won the game with a handful of injuries and replaced them with three Under-18 players on the bench.
Front-rowers Kyle Kennedy and Dylan Montgomery led the way while makeshift five-eighth Matt Gallagher also played well.
"I'm lost for words with our effort and it just shows our mentality since the pre-season,” Carney said.
"Our two front-rowers just played a full 80 minutes against the best team in the competition.
"We had guys filling in today and that's going to create competition for spots when other blokes come back.
"To get some of our Under-18s out there in front of a big crowd and get a win like that pumps them up and gets them keen to come to training.
"Defence has really been a strong point; if we're to go anywhere this season we need to keep tackling like that.”
The Red Devils scored early when winger Gabriel Belcher went over in the sixth minute.
The Raiders fought back and were the better team for most of the first half with tries to winger Cody Hart and centre Dom Murray giving them an 8-6 lead at half-time.
In other games, Northern United had its second straight win, beating Evans Head 40-18 at Crozier Field, Lismore, on Saturday.
A second-half double to Ballina winger Rhys Riches highlighted a 32-6 win over Mullumbimby at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, today.
Second-rower Jack Durheim was also among the try-scorers for the Seagulls and threw a great ball to help put Riches over for his first try.
Elsewhere, Casino had a comfortable 28-4 home win over Marist Brothers and Murwillumbah defeated Cudgen 26-6 at Kingscliff.