Byron halfback's hat-trick seals win over Northern United
BYRON BAY halfback Ryan O'Connell scored a hat-trick with his third try sealing a 23-12 win over Northern United in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Byron Bay yesterday.
It looked like a field goal from second-rower Joe Gordon was going to be enough before O'Connell put the icing on the cake in the 76th minute.
The Red Devils led 12-6 for most of the second half before centre Toby Ryan scored out wide and increased the margin to 18-6.
United forced a goal-line drop-out from the resuming kick-off and second-rower Jirra Breckenridge barged his way over the tryline a few tackles later.
The field goal from Gordon in the 71st minute was the beginning of the end as the Dirawongs looked out on their feet.
Lock Sam Dwyer and hooker Tyler Blanch supported Red Devils front-rower Simon Kelly, who put in his usual whole-hearted performance.
Dirawongs centre Bill King looked the most dangerous of his team with his 70m runaway try a highlight of the first half.
O'Connell scored his second try just before half-time as the Red Devils took a 12-6 lead into the break.
Northern United second-rower Djaan Jarrett left the field with a head knock before returning to finish the game.
His opposite number Lachlan Jones was not so lucky and did not return to the field after coming off second best in a heavy collision later in the game.
Both teams were walking wounded by full-time as the stretcher had to be called for another Dirawongs player just before the end.
Lock Alwyn Roberts, prop Craig Smith and King were United's best players.
IN OTHER NRRRL GAMES:
- Evans Head continued on its winning way with a hard-fought 26-24 win over the Kyogle Turkeys at Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head, on Saturday.
- The Bombers have now leap-frogged Northern United into second spot on the ladder. They also have a catch-up game to play against Byron Bay on Friday night.
- Cudgen pulled out a 30-28 win over Casino at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino.
- Marist Brothers thrashed Lower Clarence 60-0 at Oakes Oval, Lismore.
- Murwillumbah had little trouble accounting for Mullumbimby 50-12 at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah.