Kellys lead the way for the Bay

IT WASN’T pretty but Byron Bay did enough to topple Casino 44-26 in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League action at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, yesterday.

The Cougars fought hard for a 16-all half-time scoreline but the match was over 15 minutes into the second stanza when Simon Kelly crashed through the middle of the ruck and ran 40 metres to score the Red Devils’ third try after the break.

Leon and Clarence Kelly’s left flank partnership cranked up a notch with the brothers leaving opponents dizzied at times and 2008 premiership fullback Tobin Cupples made a stunning return to the top grade with a pair of solo tries.

But the Red Devils looked far from a side that could challenge for the premiership – something that captain Kelly acknowledged.

“It wasn’t our best but we will take the points and move forward to the big game with Ghosts next week,” he said.

Cougars wrecking balls Sefa Silafau and Jacob Ngauomo were the biggest obstacle for Byron to overcome, but once the Red Devils began to promote the ball wide and spread the defence the big blokes ran out of puff.

Silafau started at prop but became more damaging when running wide in the three-quarters and bagged a couple of tries in the first 40 minutes.

“They are a real handful, those two big fellas,” Kelly said,

“But they just aren’t an 80-minutes side.”

Leon Kelly put forward his case for ‘size doesn’t matter’ when he pulled down a rampaging Ngauomo in a try-saver – and he doubled the effort by smothering Alex Johnson into touch on the next play to stop another try.

Following Kelly’s lead was Cougars back-rower James Barker who, as one of the smallest players on the field, played well above his weight to back up his props in the middle.

The Cougars scored two late tries but really weren’t in the hunt after half-time.

BYRON BAY 44 (Cupples 2, L Kelly, S Kelly, Stapleton, Urban, Cahill, Colby tries; Barnes 6 goals) d CASINO 26 (Silafau 2, Roberts, Johnson, Pedrini tries; Roberts 3 goals)

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