Penalties prove crucial
FIVE consecutive penalty goals helped pave the way for Lismore City's 30-17 win over Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers in their Far North Coast Rugby Union clash at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, on Saturday.
The Pioneers got the better of the early exchanges and had Lismore on the back foot when prop James Nunn crashed over next to the posts.
Five-eighth Ben Damen was well contained by the City defence until he took an intercept and raced away to give the Pioneers a 17-9 lead.
But Lismore centre Matt Bermingham kept his cool and slotted a further two penalty goals to have the Greens within two points midway through the second half.
“Our game plan was to take whatever points we could in the first half and build on it from there,” Greens coach Will Cotterill said. “But it got to the point in the second half where we needed to be the next team to score and to the boys' credit we did.
“We were pretty dominant in the end when I moved Joe Akkersdyk and Glenn Paisley to second row.”
The Greens were ruthless in the scrums and hooker Simon Gava was rewarded for his efforts, scoring a try to put his side in front 20-17.
Bermingham went on to nail his sixth penalty goal and winger Robbie Collings scored soon after to put it beyond doubt.
Pioneers coach Ben Grayndler was left scratching his head after full-time.
“We had them on toast out there but just didn't go on with it,” he said. “The penalty goals really kept them in it and we couldn't get that lucky break to put them away.
“Our backs went really well and even late in that second half I thought we had it over them there.”
The Pioneers have some injury woes, losing Nunn (shoulder) and fullback Max Venables (ankle) during the game.
They were best served by second-rower Shaun Ellis and flanker Daniel Mather.
Second-rower Keith Morris and prop Matt Collins were among the best for the Greens.
In other games, Lennox Head Trojans belted the struggling SCU Gold Rats 79-5.
Winger Kalib Cupples scored a hat-trick with centre Sam Stewart and second-rower Mick Muir each bagging a double.
Grafton Redmen kept the battle for fourth spot wide open with a 10-5 win against Casino Bulls.