Pioneers kick-start campaign
WOLLONGBAR-Alstonville Pioneers launched their assault on the Far North Coast rugby union premiership with a 41-10 thrashing of the Grafton Redmen at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, on Saturday.
After a bye in the first round the Pioneers took little time to stamp their authority on Saturday's game and had the visitors on the ropes early in the first half.
Redmen's captain-coach Brad Lloyd was devastated by the humiliating result, declaring that the Pioneers "blew us away in the first 20 minutes".
"We never turned up to play," he said.
"Once again our minds were not on the job. For some reason one week we turn up to play and the next week we get off to another poor start.
"It's first-grade footy and the players need to understand you need to turn up with the right attitude and purpose."
The Pioneers, with young gun Jake McIntyre controlling the game from five-eighth, ran in six tries with James Vidler, who started on the bench, picking up a hat-trick in his first grade debut.
"They had a big pack and we were always on the back foot," Lloyd said.
The Pioneers led 22-5 at the break and kept their opponents to just two tries with grinding defence.
"For the first game it was surprising so I'm very happy," Pioneers coach Ben Grayndler said.
"Having the bye the first week I though we might be a bit rusty but it all sort of fell in to place.
"There's still plenty to work on."
Grayndler was more than happy with both McIntyre, who turns 18 next week, and Vidler - both are eligible to play 19s.
"Not bad 25 minutes of footy, three tries on debut, pretty handy," Grayndler said of Vidler.
In other matches, Ballina and Lennox Head both recorded wins.
Lennox, who lead the competition after two rounds, came from 8-5 down at half-time to beat Lismore 32-14.
Ballina led 14-13 at the break and went on to win 22-19 in a tight game with Casino in Casino.
Lennox Head 32 (Lachlan Creagh 3, Mathew Barnes, Jake Robinson tries, Mathew Barnes 2 conversions, penalty goal) d Lismore 14 (Stephen Hughes try, Ben Felicioni 3 penalty goals).
Ballina 22 (Liam Preston 2, Rick Randall tries, Luke Watling 2 conversions, penalty goal) d Casino 19 (Jacob Lyons, Tom Bishop tries, Tom Farr 2, Lachlan Winkler penalty goals).
Wollongbar-Alstonville 41 (James Vidler 3, Adam Law 2, Jake McIntyre tries, Jake McIntyre 2, Reece Brown 2 conversions, Jake McIntyre penalty goal) d Grafton 10 (Dwayne Duke, Ben Stone tries).
Southern Cross University - Bye.
Point Score: Lennox Head 10, Ballina 8, Wollongbar Alstonville 5, Southern Cross University 5, Casino 1, Lismore 0, Grafton 0.