Brothers come to grip with Ghosts
GRAFTON Ghosts may have wrapped up the minor premiership with their gritty 13-4 win over Marist Brothers on Sunday, but the race for the big prize on grand-final day is far from over.
The Ghosts had swept through the opening nine rounds of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season without breaking a sweat.
They racked up 466 points at an average of more than 50 a game and their lowest score and closest match of the season came in a 32-16 victory over Cudgen.
They are still undefeated after squeaking past Brothers but the Rams have proven to the rest of the league what they already believed – the Ghosts are far from unbeatable.
Brothers coach David Krause almost became a spectator such was the quality of the weekend’s top-of-the-table clash, but when he put his coach’s hat back on there was a mixture of disappointment and pride.
“We are kicking ourselves; we put ourselves in a position to win the game,” Krause said.
“But I have a feeling the Ghosts now know there is another team out there that is not intimidated by them.
“They know they are not untouchable.”
Brothers forwards stuck it too the much vaunted Ghosts pack, and apart from the dominant display from lock Don Dickson, probably got the points.
Ghosts were without NRL standard prop Danny Wicks, but the Rams were minus go-forward leader Cameron Paine and tackling machine Jack Durheim.
The Ghosts victory puts them four-points clear atop the NRRRL ladder but with six rounds to play the battle for the remaining four finals spots is just starting to heat up.
In what shapes as a month crucial to finals-bound clubs; Brothers (second, 16 points) face Byron Bay, Evans Head, Cudgen and Northern United; Cudgen (third, 14 points) play Tweed (twice), Ballina and Brothers; Byron Bay (fourth, 13 points) meet Brothers, Casino, Ghosts and Mullumbimby; and Ballina (fifth, 13 points) challenge Evans Head (twice), Cudgen and Northern United; while Murwillumbah, United and Grafton Rhinos sit just outside the top-five on 12 points.