Hornets destroy Rams' dreams in NRRRL
CUDGEN will play in a second straight grand final after a 32-12 demolition of Marist Brothers in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League preliminary final.
The home side dominated from the opening whistle in a near-perfect half of football and took a commanding 28-0 lead into the break at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff, yesterday.
There were ominous signs early when Cudgen front-rower Simon Kelly made a line break which almost led to a try in the first set of the game.
He proved it was no fluke when he sold a dummy to Rams centre Chris King and went on to run 70m to score under the crossbar and give his side a 16-0 lead.
The Hornets forwards dominated and the backs were just as dangerous whenever they got the ball out wide.
Quick hands and some slick ball movement saw centre Jake Sands score a try to give them a 22-0 lead in just the 22nd minute.
Second-rower Josh Sleba has made a successful switch to the forwards this season but soon found himself out wide and still with enough pace to add another try to the onslaught.
About the only thing that went the Rams' way in the first half was a scrum win against the feed close to the line - and even that didn't produce points.
The nightmare continued in the second half when front-rower Darryl Butcher dropped the ball from the kick-off with Cudgen winger Brad Hicks scoring out wide in the following set.
Hicks left the field after injuring his shoulder diving for the tryline and it was about the only issue Cudgen had to contend with at 32-0.
The Brothers forwards kept turning up but there was no stopping an in-form Cudgen side determined to get another crack at minor premiers Ballina in the grand final.
Points finally came in the 67th minute for the Rams when winger Jeremy Garland forced his way over out wide from dummy-half.
Second-rower Jake Hoban crossed for Brothers' second consolation try.
In other games, Cudgen scored in the final minute to snatch a 20-18 win over Murwillumbah in reserve grade.
Earlier, Casino won the Under-18s 28-20 over Marist Brothers and Byron Bay beat Murwillumbah 20-4 in the women's league tag.