Rugby union: Lennox Head start season with win over Ballina
NEW faces and positional changes helped Lennox Head to a 14-8 win over Ballina in the first round of Far North Coast rugby union at Williams Reserve, Lennox Head, on Saturday.
The Trojans led 14-3 for most of the second half after tries to centres Hayden Blair and Jack Tyndall.
Ballina winger Ryan Boardman scored a late try but it wasn't enough as the referee called full-time soon after.
"I'm extremely happy, we got to debut about eight players," Lennox Head coach Aaron Matenga said.
"We had a few old heads away so it was great to be able to bring some of our young guys in.
"It was a bit of task and the execution was a bit off but they stuck to the game plan."
No 8 Hamish Holbrook was dominant in the first half while five-eighth Paul Crozier controlled play well.
Blair played halfback last season but looks to have found a home in the centres.
"He was outstanding and I think he can form a pretty dangerous combination with Paul," Matenga said.
"We got Sammy Fitzgerald in at halfback now and he can cause some damage with his speed."
Ballina dominated at the scrum but couldn't convert that pressure into points.
Most of the forwards played big minutes with No 8 Andrew Burke the Seahorses' best player.
Meanwhile, Bangalow started its season with a hard-fought 32-27 win over Southern Cross University at Schultz Oval, Bangalow.
Flankers Otty Fifita and Tim Mundy finished the game with try-scoring doubles.
There were floggings in the other two games on Saturday, with the defending premiers Wollongbar- Alstonville beating the Casino Bulls 107-0 at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.
The Pioneers terrorised their young opposition with five-eighth Ben Damen scoring four tries.
And Byron Bay belted Lismore City 74-7 at the Byron Bay Recreation Ground.
Flanker Craig Wallace scored a hat-trick with Byron Bay piling on 12 tries in the big home win.
FNC RUGBY UNION SCOREBOARD
Lennox Head 14 (Hayden Blair, Jack Tyndall tries, Billy Goldsmith 2 conversions) d Ballina 8 (Ryan Boardman try, Mitch Knight penalty goal). Half-time: Lennox Head 7-3.
Bangalow 32 (Tim Mundy 2, Otty Fifita 2, John Turagabeci, Darryl Kepu tries, Ben Farrow conversion) d Southern Cross University 27 (Simon Fokes, Clayton Pursche, Matt McMullen tries, Zac Hyatt 2, Dean Wilson conversions, Zac Hyatt 2 penalty goals). Half-time: 17-all.
Wollongbar-Alstonville 107 (Ben Damen 4, Steven Mison 2, Matt Scott 2, Matt Nean 2, Louis Hollman 2, Bill Johnston, Jarrod Wyllie, Sam Kerry, Nat Regueira, Vincent Chee tries, Sam Kerry 11 conversions) d Casino 0. Half-time: 52-0.
Byron Bay 74 (Craig Wallace 3, Jack Cooke 2, Darrell Montgomery 2, Jascha Saeck, Romey Vassell, Christian Rossi, James Oakley, Eddie O'Hare tries, John Laughlin 7 conversions) d Lismore 7 (Dallas Flanagan try, Riley Taylor conversion). Half-time: 38-0.
Pointscore: Wollongbar 5, Byron Bay 5, Bangalow 5, Lennox Head 4, SCU 1, Ballina 1, Lismore 0, Casino 0.
Next round: SCU v Lennox Head; Casino v Bangalow; Ballina v Byron Bay; Lismore v Wollongbar.
Reserve grade: Ballina 18 d Lennox Head 5, Bangalow 24 drew with SCU 24, Wollongbar-Alstonville 71 d Casino 7, Mullumbimby 30 d Lismore 0.
President's Cup (Round 2): Iluka 47 d Kyogle 0, Evans River 30 d Ballina 0, Yamba 30 d Murwillumbah 0.