Covell's first proves crucial
FORMER Cronulla Sharks winger Luke Covell scored his first try of the season as Murwillumbah ran away with a 30-14 victory over Ballina Seagulls in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, yesterday.
Covell found himself in the centres for most of the day and scored a crucial try when the Mustangs trailed 14-6 early in the second half.
"I'm usually in the forwards and don't get the chance to score too many these days," Covell said.
"It was a bit of fun being back in the centres and the body isn't feeling that sore.
"They're a good side and that second half is probably the best we have played in the two years I've been back at the club."
Second-rower Tim James took full advantage of being the biggest man on the park by scoring two barnstorming tries from close range.
Interchange prop Lionel Foster also powered his way over and scored under the cross-bar.
"We have a pretty handy forward pack and it's great to play with guys that I went to school with like Damian (Quinn) and Lynden Murphy," Covell said.
"We were a bit scattered and worried about being behind because we knew Battese would lead the way from dummy-half."
Andrew Battese's kicking game in the first half caused all sorts of pressure for the Mustangs' back three.
First-half tries to captain Greg Ryan and halfback Nikko Roberts had the Seagulls in front 12-6 at the break.
An early penalty goal gave them an eight-point buffer before the likes of Covell, Murphy and James stamped their authority.
"We thought if we could stick to our game plan for the full 80 we could get the money," Murwillumbah coach Troy McLean said.
"We pride ourselves on our forward pack and they were awesome today.
"Covell is a quality act and we're using him at second-row and centre to cover a few injuries."
Despite playing a catch-up game during the week, Ballina coach Greg Barnes wasn't prepared to use that as an excuse.
"It might have caught up with us a bit but we were expecting to win today," Barnes said.
"We had it to but we clocked off for that 15 minutes and it was all over."
Murwillumbah 30 (T James 2, M Goodfellow, L Covell, L Foster tries; Covell 5 goals) d Ballina 14 (G Ryan, N Roberts; A Battese 2 goals, penalty goal).
Reserve grade: Ballina 30 d Murwillum-bah 24
Under-18s: Ballina 28 d Murwillumbah 16.