Devils win but with heavy hearts
BYRON BAY made rugby league look easy at Red Devil Park yesterday, cruising past second-placed Marist Brothers 36-16.
But off the field, the Devils were doing it tough.
The club woke yesterday to news of the shock death of clubman Ben Donohoe in the early hours of the morning.
It was a tough ask to get up and take on one of the form sides of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League, but tough is exactly how the Bay plays.
A fearsome no-frills forward pack paves the way and the scheming outside backs finish the job.
From the sideline at least, the attacking formula looks simple.
Captain Simon Kelly and Chris Coleman do the rough stuff in the middle; Sam Barnes calls the shots while Brad Lees and Bill Lowrie distract defenders; and then the Kelly brothers score tries – and lots of them.
Yesterday the Kelly three-quarter line trio bagged five – a treble for centre Clarence, and one each for wingers Leon and Brett – as the Rams wondered which way to look.
Marist Brothers scored the first and last tries of the match but the Devils scored eight of their own in between and would have won by a greater margin had Barnes remembered his kicking boots – the halfback turning four points into six just once.
The Rams were off the pace as they fell behind 22-6 by the break and coach David Krause knew it.
“They played smart; we just didn’t turn up,” he said.
Everyone in red certainly turned up and none was better than the tireless captain Kelly.
If there was a set of six where he didn’t have a run it was only because he’d made three tackles in the previous set.
Krause paid the back-rower the ultimate compliment: “Simon is probably the toughest forward we have come up against all year.”
Krause, whose Rams took the undefeated Grafton Ghosts to the edge last weekend, then put it all out there.
“I reckon Byron today were probably better than Ghosts were last week,” he said.
“As much as I hate losing I am happy for them today.
“The news Byron have been handed shows there are much worse things that can happen than losing a game of footy.”
Giants in touch
MULLUMBIMBY stayed in touch with the top five, winning 36-26 over the Turkeys at Kyogle yesterday.
A dogged Kyogle outfit never surrendered in front of their home fans but the Giants were a touch better in the end.
Mullumbimby are now four points from fifth spot with games against Rhinos, Murwillumbah and arch-rivals Byron Bay coming up.
Kyogle remain anchored to the foot of the ladder with just a single win to their name.