Broken Billy takes charge in NRRRL
A BROKEN ankle could not stop Ballina hooker Billy Dwane from winning a third straight Under-18s grand final in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League on Sunday.
It was his final game of Under-18s after starting out in 2016 when coach Greg Barnes took over.
"He was really good around the ruck considering he just had four weeks off with a broken ankle,” Barnes said.
"Billy was the only one left from our original side and that was a pretty special effort from him.”
The Seagulls saved one of its best performances of the season when it ran away with a 30-4 win over Cudgen at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.
"The boys really deserved a win like that after all the work they've put in this year,” Barnes said.
"It's a really tight-knit bunch of kids that always want to be at training and they listen to what we want them to do.
"Everything we did today came off and that doesn't always happen in a grand final.”
Ballina piled on the points in the second half with tries to centres Mason Hilyard and James Torrens blowing the game wide open.
Lock Kuyan Roberts-Laurie followed with a superb individual try breaking numerous tackles and forced his way over under the cross-bar.
Winger Tupou Lolohea capped a fine season with a try in the corner while lock Jordan Sly produced another man-of-the-match performance.
Fullback Matt Buttenshaw scored a try for Ballina in the first half while lock Brock Styles was the only try-scorer for Cudgen.
"We put Tupou into lock at one stage, he bent the line a fair bit and we have plenty of speed on our edges,” Barnes said.
"Kuyan is the youngest player in the team but he's going to be a pretty special player.
"We just want to keep developing these kids and help get them into first grade.”
Barnes was assisted this season by trainers Scott Redford and Gerry Thompson along with coaches Mick Sheather and Troy Johnstone.