Intercept try, big effort in defence - the keys to win
A RARE intercept try to Ballina five-eighth Ben Crawford and a herculean effort in defence helped the Seagulls to a 16-12 win over Marist Brothers in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
Crawford scored the first intercept try of his career before some desperate defence saw off a fast- finishing Rams outfit at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, on Saturday night.
Ballina hooker Andrew Battese pulled off two try- saving tackles and kicked a penalty goal to give his side a 16-6 lead midway through the second half.
It was a tough night for the Rams with hooker Jake Campbell and fullback David Jacky leaving the field injured.
However, Brothers received great service from their bench with halfback Wally Kelly adding some spark while second-rower Lennon Bartlett aimed up in defence.
Five-eighth TeAte Jackson threw a beautiful pass which put Bartlett into space and he scored out wide, with the conversion narrowing the margin to 16-12.
Brothers had a mountain of possession at the end of the game and attacked the Seagulls’ tryline until the final whistle.
Earlier, a penalty goal to Battese and converted try to prop Kelly Sironen gave Ballina an 8-0 lead.
Rams centre Mitchell Krause made a few uncharacteristic errors early before he found himself on a 70m dash when Kelly picked up a loose ball.
He was eventually run down by opposition centre Anthony Colman before winger Matt Tickle scored two plays later in the opposite corner.
The Crawford intercept try was a kick in the guts for the Rams as they went into half-time trailing 14-6.
Front-rower Dylan Montgomery was Ballina’s best player along with fullback Michael Thomas, Battese and Colman.
Halfback Paul O’Neill and second-rower Kyle Kennedy played well for Brothers.
The win allowed Ballina to retain the Denis Meaney Shield and the Seagulls also claimed the inaugural Woollam Constructions Club Challenge after a full day of junior and senior games.