Raiders the real deal after gutsy win with 11 men
PRESSURE plays from experienced Tweed Coast five-eighth Drew Lanston led the Raiders to a hard-fought 17-16 win after they were reduced to 11 men against Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
It was a gutsy effort after an early second half send-off and a late sin bin in the final 10 minutes should have seen them run down by the home team at Byron Bay on Saturday.
Leading 16-10, Lanston took a crucial intercept when the Raiders were under the pump in their own half before slotting a field goal with four minutes remaining.
Byron Bay fullback Mitchell Krause scored two tries and set up the Red Devils' third when he kicked back inside for halfback Tye Barry to score in the 78th minute.
Byron Bay were gifted field position in the final minute but were unable to find their game-breakers in Krause and centre Clarence Kelly.
"We showed plenty of heart out there and it's a pretty gutsy win to do it with 11 men,” Lanston said.
"These are the games you train for and I was pretty confident we'd hang in and get the win.
"I'll take the point (field goal) but it was a big team effort and we won that off the back of our forwards.
"We've had a few season-defining efforts already this season and that might be another one today.”
The Raiders were reduced to 12 men early in the second half when winger Nelson Carter was originally sin-binned for a professional foul for slowing the play-the-ball down.
He gave referee Josh Gollan a verbal spray on his way off which resulted in a send-off while second-rower Scott McLennan was later sin-binned for holding down.
The Raiders look the real deal this season with new halfback Tahne Robinson laying on a brilliant try in the first half off a well-worked set play when he found space for hooker Jamie Donaldson.
They are coached by Clive Churchill Medallist and premiership-winning Manly front-rower Brent Kite.
"He's a had huge impact and he's someone we really needed to push us to that next level,” Lanston said.
In other NRRRL games:
Mullumbimby brought home the Grant Cook memorial cup with a hard-fought 22-20 win over Murwillumbah at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah.
The Casino Cougars proved too strong for Marist Brothers 32-16 at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino.
Ballina eased past the Kyogle Turkeys 46-16 at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.
Cudgen beat Northern United 42-14 at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.
Lower Clarence snatched a 20-18 win over Evans Head at Yamba.
Tweed Coast 17 ( K Hensby, J Donaldson, L Toon tries; D Ross 2 goals; D Lanston field goal) d Byron Bay 16 (M Krause 2, T Barry tries; Barry 3 goals).