Scrappy victory for Magpies
THE Lower Clarence Magpies knocked off another top five contender by securing a scrappy 24-12 victory over defending premiers the Byron Bay Red Devils at the Maclean Showground yesterday.
Fighting for fourth spot on the ladder and a chance to host the minor semi-final, the Red Devils surprisingly failed to apply any real pressure to a Magpies squad missing three first-grade regulars.
“I'm very disappointed that we turned up and played like that,” Byron Bay coach Nathan Cross said.
“It was one of our worst performances of the year, which is unfortunate for such a big occasion.”
Byron's loss and Grafton Ghosts' 22-16 victory over the Tweed Coast Raiders means Byron have lost the right to host the minor preliminary final, with Ghosts finishing fourth thanks to a superior points differential.
The major preliminary final will be played at Mullumbimby after the Giants' tough 20-18 win over Cudgen at Kingscliff yesterday.
Three tries to prop Sef Silafau highlighted Casino RSM's stunning 44-30 victory over the Grafton Rhinos at Casino on Saturday.
In the final five rounds of the season the Cougars showed what they were capable of with three wins, a draw and a close loss to defending premiers Byron Bay.
Besides Silafau, stand-in hooker Dean Watson scored two tries and centres Todd Johnson and Kuraau Temata played strongly in front of a good crowd that included most of the squad of the 1979 Casino prem-iership team.
Ballina centre Jono Freeman capped a fine season with three tries as the Seagulls steamrolled to a comprehensive 36-0 win over Kyogle at Ballina on Saturday.
Ballina's other centre Sam Howlett scored two tries as the pair had a fine day out.
Ballina football club manager Max Beecher said prop Joe Means had another big game while halfback Brent Peterson and front-rower Mick Foster showed their experience.
And Evans Head has flick-passed the wooden spoon to Kyogle after the Bombers defeated Murwillumbah 16-10 at Evans Head on Saturday.
A try by five-eighth Ryan Eckersley with five minutes to go handed the game to the home side after it had been locked at 10-all.