Winger Daniel Lollback during Grafton’s 26-20 preliminary final win over Ballina on Sunday.
Winger Daniel Lollback during Grafton’s 26-20 preliminary final win over Ballina on Sunday. Adam Hourigan, Grafton Daily Examiner

Mustangs the pick

MOST first-grade coaches from Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clubs have backed Murwillumbah to win the grand final against Grafton Ghosts on Sunday.

The two sides met last year in the grand final with Ghosts winning 10-6 on their home turf at Frank McGuren Field, Grafton.

Despite the Mustangs being minor premiers in 2011, most coaches were correct in predicting Grafton as the eventual winners last year.

However, after winning back-to-back minor premierships it's going to be hard to deny the home team the silverware at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah, on Sunday.

Coaches agree playing at home and the pain of losing last year's grand final will be enough to motivate the Mustangs.

"I think Murwillumbah, purely on home ground advantage," Mullumbimby coach Graham Eadie said.

"They looked a bit complacent in the semi-final but I think the experience of Luke Covell and Damian Quinn will be enough to get them home."

However, Ballina coach Greg Barnes and Casino coach Troy Johnstone have seen enough of Grafton to think they'll claim their third consecutive premiership.

They had a 20-point lead against Murwillumbah in the major semi-final before going down 24-22.

"Playing only two games in four weeks might make it tough for the big Murwillumbah pack," Barnes said.

"I'd be confident if I were Grafton and if they get in front they won't let the lead slip again."

In a massive day for Ghosts, they have the chance to also walk away with Under-18 and reserve grade premierships.

Lower Clarence captain-coach Grant Brown believes Murwillumbah will win by eight points.

"Murwillumbah will definitely win, they've been the most consistent team all year," Brown said.

"If you put them (Ghosts) off their game plan they panic and I think they'll fold."

Four other coaches - Mick Davis, Chris Binge, Adam Mayes and Tobin Cupples - have also backed Murwillumbah.

"It's their time," Cupples said.

 

GRAND FINAL DAY

First grade: Murwillumbah v Ghosts

Reserve grade: Mullumbimby v Ghosts

Under-18s: Mullumbimby v Ghosts

Gates open 9.30am. Entry $12.



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