Redmen surrender commanding lead to Bangalow
IT WAS a game of two-halves for the McKimms Grafton Redmen against Bangalow Rebels at Stan Thompson Oval in Brunswick Heads on Saturday.
Grafton looked in control in sodden conditions, going to the break with a commanding 16-0 lead.
However, the home side flicked the switch in the second-half to score 23 unanswered points.
The Rebels made most of the greasy conditions as the visitor's game plan dissolved in the wet.
It was a disappointing result for the Redmen who are now under plenty of pressure to keep their final hopes alive.
Redmen co-coach Brent Berrick gave a blunt assessment of his side's poor second-half performance.
"The game was there for the taking and we only have ourselves to blame," a disappointed Berrick said after the game.
"We put ourselves under pressure with poor options especially after the break.
"Giving away penalties didn't help our cause, but again I thought the effort was there in trying conditions."
Berrick added field position and the ability to soak up long periods of pressure also contributed to the loss.
"We struggled to get into good field position and were pinned down in our own half. I thought we also clocked off late in the game," he said.
"When we were put under pressure we took the wrong options. We gave away too many penalties and I think their goal kicker scored nine or twelve points.
"The conditions weren't ideal for running rugby but I thought we actually shifted the ball really well, which was positive."
Redmen captain Kyle Hancock capped off another solid display at the back kicking one conversion and three penalty goals while centre Jake Martin continued to impress with his defence and dynamic ball running.
Grafton's Southside Pharmacy second grade was also on the wrong end of the scoreboard, going down 22-12 to Mullumbimby.
Grafton's round 3 clash is an away game against premiership favourites Wollongbar Alstonville, who thumped a hapless Casino Bulls 64-10.
FAR NORTH COAST RUGBY UNION RESULTS
Wollongbar Alstonville 64 (Sam Kerry 2, Jake Lubrano 2, Hamish Mould, James Vidler, Louis Hollman, Bodi Smith, Matt Wright, Austin Markwort tries, Sam Kerry 7 conversions) d Casino 10 (Anthony Butta, Josefa Lalabalavu tries)
Half Time: Wollongbar 33 - Casino 5
Lennox Head 21 (Martin McNamara, Lochie Creagh tries, Berrick Barnes conversion, 3 penalty goals) d Ballina 15 (Nemani Matirewa, Terry Ferguson tries, Sam Giltrap conversion, penalty goal)
Half Time: Ballina 10 - Lennox 8
Casuarina Beach 61(Makare Penetito 2, Chris Dowling 2, Kai George, Rian Olivier, Casey Calder, Dan Heritage, Pat Ruwhiu tries, Vitori Buatava 7, Kai George Conversions) d Lismore 7(Cameron Bryant try, Jack Everingham conversion)
Half Time: Casuarina 28- Lismore 0
Bangalow 23 (Dan Pym, Will Latham tries, Blake Neilsen 2 conversions, 3 penalty goals) d Grafton 16 (Ethan Meyer-Creighton try, Kyle Hancock conversion, 3 penalty goals)
Half Time: Grafton 16 - Bangalow 0
Point Score - Casuarina 10, Wollongbar 10, Bangalow 8, Ballina 6, Lennox 6, Grafton 1, Casino 1, Lismore 0
Mullumbimby 22 d Grafton 12
Lennox 20 d Ballina 17
Wollongbar 42 d Casino 10
Lismore 10 d Casuarina 5
Casuarina 30 d Lismore 5
Lennox 7 d Ballina 5
Wollongbar 14 d Casino 10
Evans River v Lismore - Postponed
Richmond Range 15 d Tenterfield 13
Evans River 22 d Kyogle 14
Byron Bay v Iluka - Postponed