Dirawongs win spiteful match
ROY BELL sliced through and sent Steven Roberts scorching down the touchline to score a try and steal an unlikely victory from Cudgen 38-36 in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League action at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff, yesterday.
United played catch-up football all day and looked to be finished before Bell and Roberts combined to set off wild celebrations with the last play of the match.
After a spiteful struggle the Dirawongs players swamped Roberts post-try and United fans who had made the trip north jumped the fence to join in.
The clash for outright second spot on the table was marred by stoppages for foul play and head-high tackles – the most unsavoury incident occurring around the half-hour mark when Hornets centre Aaron Aitken broke opposite number Sione Tonga’s nose with a swinging arm.
Aitkin was marched for 10 minutes but the niggle continued.
United coach Chris Binge was a mixture of emotions after the game – there was delight but also anger.
“Cudgen’s tactics were disgraceful today,” he said.
“The high shots, the ‘dog’ shots; it was obviously their plan to try to put us off our game with dirty tactics.
“But our boys stayed strong and prevailed.”
If the clubs clash again in the finals there will be plenty of fire – Hornets players approached Binge post-match pointing the finger and accusing him of being a sore loser.
“It doesn’t matter what they say,” Binge said.
“We won the game, we are second, and we will see them in a few weeks if they make it any further.”
A scare went through the United camp when the mercurial Bell limped off with a foot injury.
But the No. 6 was back for the second half and showed little signs of slowing down.
Grant Brown assumed the goal-kicking duties with Bell aggrieved and added a pair of tries for a personal haul of 18 points.
Possibly the biggest positive to come from the game was the form of Alwyn Roberts.
In his first match back from a broken ankle the lock forward was outstanding in attack and defence.
His inclusion is sure to add starch and direction to the ruck area for United.
With the victory over Cudgen, United earn the right to host the qualifying semi-final against Ballina at Crozier Field, Lismore, on Sunday.
NORTHERN UNITED 38 (Brown 2, Briggs 2, Hammond, Jamahl Roberts, Steven Roberts tries; Brown 5 goals) d CUDGEN 36 (Moase 2, Norman, Wright, T Prichard,Mulheron tries; Field 6 goals).
BROTHERS MISS OUT: PAGE 30