Fred Waters scores eight tries
'GET the ball to Fred' became the catchcry as Northern United centre Fred Waters scored an amazing eight tries as the Dirawongs flogged Marist Brothers 66-26 at Crozier Field, Lismore, in the final round of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
United club officials believe the chunky flyer has scored 38 tries this season which would give him a try-scoring record not only for the NRRRL but also for the old Group One competition.
It is believed the record was held by former South Grafton centre Mark Laurie who scored 37 tries in the 1994 season, but Waters will have to wait until his tally is officially confirmed by league administrators this week.
Waters scored four tries in each half, three in the first eight minutes of the first half and four in the final 13 minutes of the game.
Five of his tries were legitimate with him backing up or making the bust, but three were handed to the Armidale product by fullback Roy Bell over the try line.
Waters' eight tries overshadowed an astonishing final 13 minutes from United.
Up until then, the Bundjalung Cup match was shaping up for a grandstand finish with the Dirawongs in front only 36-26 and Brothers on the attack.
However, Waters inspired his team to pile on 30 points in 13 min-utes to demoralise the Brethren and delight United supporters who broke into a massive cheer when the centre crossed for his eighth try, the final four-pointer of the match, with just 45 seconds left on the clock.
“We didn't train for that, that's for sure,” chuckled United coach Chris Binge.
“Basically Freddie and I had given up on the record a few weeks ago when he was injured and we didn't think he would get close to it.
“We have a good group of boys and full credit goes to Grantley Creighton (secretary) and Ash Moran (committee) and the committee for helping get players of this quality.
“They're not just footballers, they are best mates and they have a heap of talent.”
United also claimed their first piece of silverware, the Bundjalung Cup, after wins in first grade and Under-18s.
Both those grades will contest semi-finals this weekend.
The Dirawongs will travel north to take on Mullumbimby in first grade, while the Under-18s will head south to Grafton to play Evans Head.
“To win the Cup is great but the other one in four weeks is the one we want the most,” Binge said.
Prop Sione Tonga, second-rower Leon King, fullback Roy Bell and halfback Michael Moran also played starring roles while winger Steve Close scored a hat-trick only to be overshadowed by Waters.
The Brethren, who were so short of numbers that coach David Krause was forced to play five-eighth for half the game, showed persistence with halfback Evan Hickling and prop Darryl Butcher working tirelessly but in the end they could not match the sheer pace of United.
United led 22-0 after 15 minutes through three tries to Waters and one to Steve Close, before Brothers finally got on the scoreboard through second-rower Rod McFarlane.
Waters notched his fourth just on half-time for a 26-6 lead.
Close scored his second just after the break but Rams hooker Joel Jensen pegged that back with a try that made the scoreline 32-10.
Tries were traded with Josh Whitty and Jerome Hammond both touching down before McFarlane crossed for his second which closed the scores to 36-22.
Momentum had swung entirely the Brethren's way and centre James Roberts then scored after a great pass by halfback Evan Hickling and suddenly Brothers were down only 36-26.
United prop Buddy King was then sent to the sin-bin and from the next set of six the Rams went close to scoring after a break by centre Pete Jeffery only for the ball to roll over the dead- ball line when toed ahead.
From there Brothers never touched the ball again as United landed five scorching blows, four of them to the amazing Waters.