Bulls fume over lost points
CASINO are seething that they sit on 10 competition points in Far North Coast rugby union.
Seething at the same time that Wollongbar-Alstonville are outright second and just one point behind competition front-runners Lennox Head.
Casino opened their 2010 season with a hard-fought 10-8 win over the Pioneers back in April only to be stripped of the points – which were given to the Pioneers, along with a bonus point – for a breach of player registration policy.
The messy situation has cost them the points and it has also cost them a player in Sefa Silafau.
Silafau was the unregistered player who took the field in that second-round clash and among the confusion has signed up with Casino’s rugby league club, where he is thriving.
The Bulls are angry.
And today is the day of redemption.
Darren Winkler’s Bulls will travel to Lyle Park, Wollongbar, to get their points back.
“We have spoken about it, and the boys all agree that we have been hard done by,” Winkler said.
“It is definitely a motivator for the game.”
Winkler has been able to include two of his hardest-working forwards, Mark McCormack and Jarrad Cameron.
“Its great to have them back,” Winkler said.
“Mark will strengthen our scrum like you wouldn’t believe and get among the tight stuff, while Jarred adds that speed to the ruck area that we have been missing.
“Plus Jarred is the type of player who can spark something from nothing.”
The Bulls have averaged less than 14 points a game over their past three outings – something Winkler hopes will be rectified this afternoon.
Carl Tahatu has been shifted from the scrum to the centres to give the backline some power and potency.
“Carl is one of those blokes who will run the ball hard no matter what – he has no fear,” Winkler said.
The Pioneers are on a four game winning streak – the Bulls were the last team to beat them.
In other games today:
Lismore are seeking their first win in a month when they host competition battlers Southern Cross University.
The Greens won a close one19-12 first time around and coach Richard Hughes knows they will have to be better than that to exterminate the Gold Rats.
“Jenko (SCU coach John Jenkins) has them going well,” Hughes said.
“We should overcome them, but in no way will we be taking them lightly.”
Stephen Hughes will miss the match with a finger injury, but Ben Sloane comes into the side slotting straight back into his position in the No 12 jersey.
Ballina would make life extremely difficult for sides outside the top four if they can put Grafton away at Quays Reserve, Ballina.
The Seahorses are fourth on 20 points – 10 clear of Casino in fifth.
If they win today and the Bulls falter in their quest for revenge in Alstonville, a 14- or 15-point gap between the top four and the rest could go a long way to securing a spot in the finals.
Competition leaders Lennox Head have the bye.
Wollongbar-Alstonville: 1 Harry Warnes, 2 Bill Johnston, 3 Kent Sharman, 4 Matt Scott, 5 Scott Burgess, 6 Damien Coppola, 7 Michael Wilson, 8 Jeremy Tozer, 9 Lachlan Crockett, 10 Ben Damen, 11 Terry Murphy, 12 Arlo Cluff, 13 Tim Perkins, 14 Adam Morris, 15 Jascha Saeck. Coach: Barry Carpenter.
Casino: 1 Reece Manning, 2 Joe Mohammed, 3 Craig Connolly, 4 Mark McCormack, 5 Luke Cummins, 6 Justin Zaiko, 7 Jarrad Cameron, 8 Tim Gould, 9 Luke Serone, 10 Lachlan Winkler, 11 Brenton Fuller, 12 Carl Tahatu, 13 Joe Radin, 14 Cale Berry, 15 Nathan Quirk. Coach: Darren Winkler.
Referee: Dean Goodwin (NZ).
Lismore: 1 Matt Collins (c), 2 Stephen Prosser, 3 Neil Moran, 4 Ben Briggs, 5 Keith Morris, 6 Andrew Lynch, 7 Dominic Morris, 8 Joe Akkersdyk, 9 Scott Lancaster, 10 Matt Bermingham, 11 Chris Clark, 12 Ben Sloane, 13 Rory Richardson, 14 Sam Flynn, 15 Ben Felicioni. Coach: Richard Hughes.
Southern Cross University: 1 Michael Clark, 2 Brett Johnston, 3 Thomas Purcell, 4 Chris Wiggins, 5 Ben Dawson, 6 Matthew Anderson, 7 Ben Prozinski, 8 Chris Bush, 9 Beau Wilks, 10 James Jeffress, 11 Murray Wade, 12 Matt Miles, 13 Simon Fokes, 14 Blake Brewer-Charles, 15 Matt Urquhart. Coach: John Jenkins.
Referee: Lindsay Paul (NZ).
Ballina: 1 Syd Etuati, 2 Craig Davy, 3 Adam Thomas, 4 Chris Long, 5 Brett McLennan, 6 Andrew Burke, 7 Chad Duensing, 8 Ryan Hamilton, 9 Troy Nichols, 10 Adam Fisher, 11 Matt Bordin, 12 Liam Preston, 13 Matt Thompson, 14 Ben Robinson, 15 Luke Watling. Coach: Mick McGregor.
Grafton: 1 Chris Jackson, 2 Gary Powell, 3 Chris Owen, 4 Nathan Cooper, 5 Nick Collie, 6 Tim Landrigan, 7 Matt Wake, 8 Ben Robertson, 9 Brett Graham, 10 Trent Barber, 11 Bill Hickson, 12 Jason Landrigan, 13 Shane Denshire, 14 Huan Collie, 15 Tom Cox. Coach: Brett Graham.
Referee: Steve Williamson.