Randall double seals win
A DOUBLE from Dan Randall was enough to seal a first-round 34-24 victory for Northern United over Marist Brothers in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Crozier Field, Lismore, yesterday.
The former Lower Clarence player scored the Dirawongs' first try when they trailed 12-0 and another when it was 24-all in the second half.
Randall spent the pre-season training with the Central Queensland Capras in the Queensland Cup before family commitments brought him home.
"It was hot up there and I dropped a couple of kilos so that probably helped me today," Randall said.
"I know half the boys here and we understand how each other play so I've slotted in pretty well.
"It's good to be on the paddock anywhere and it doesn't matter where you play."
It wasn't all happy days for the Dirawongs when a perfectly timed kick from the back of a scrum led to second-rower Dan Kitcher crossing to give the Rams a 24-18 lead at half-time.
United had to be next to score after the break and inspirational front-rower Les Roberts didn't let his teammates down with a try under the cross-bar.
The Dirawongs jumped ahead with a further two tries and defended well for the final 10 minutes as a desperate Brothers threw everything they had left in the tank at them.
"Once we stuck to our guns and completed our sets things turned around," United captain-coach Roy Bell said.
"I think we had four completions from 11 sets in the first half and that's not acceptable for A-grade.
"The slow start is something we need to work on.
"Dan Randall really put his hand up and he is a credit to the side."
Rams coach Adam Mayes was left to lament what could have been after the early 12-0 lead.
"You can't go giving any side the possession that we did today," he said.
"The effort was certainly there but we still have a fair bit to work on."