Seagulls almost break streak, but Mustangs still undefeated
A TRY in the 78th minute to Murwillumbah centre Toby McIntosh snatched a 24-22 win against Ballina in NRRRL at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, yesterday.
The Mustangs looked gone and escaped by the skin of their teeth to remain unbeaten this season.
A try to Ballina front-rower Les Roberts gave the Seagulls a 22-14 buffer in the 68th minute.
The younger Ballina team looked like they had enough left in the tank to go on with it.
However, Murwillumbah showed why they are the benchmark, winning the ball back from the kick return with lock Dean Murphy scoring in front of the posts to reduce the margin to 22-20.
It was a determied win for the Mustangs, who had five players backing up from representative duty on Saturday.
Ballina fullback Michael Thomas looked threatening every time he ran the ball and scored off an inside pass to take the score to 14-10 at the start of the second half.
Seagulls front-rower Dylan Montgomery did just about everything for his side including a kick that forced a Murwillumbah error.
With possession swinging their way, winger Nick Meaney found space down the sideline and beat Murwillumbah fullback Michael Forrester to the tryline to put Ballina in front 16-14.
Earlier, it looked like a thrashing was on the cards with Murwillum-bah scoring three tries to take a 14-0 lead after 18 minutes.
Halfback Mark O'Grady was causing the Seagulls all sorts of pressure with his kicking game.
The Mustangs defended four repeat sets on their own line and it took a 50m individual effort from hooker Zac Beecher to drag the Seagulls back to 14-6 at half-time.
Ballina was best served by five-eighth Tim Foster, Montgomery and Thomas. Murwillumbah's best were prop Shane Kight, centre Caleb Howell and Murphy.
Elsewhere yesterday, Casino beat Kyogle 40-22 at Kyogle.
Scores from other games will appear in The Star tomorrow.