Seagulls run riot
BALLINA and Byron Bay continued their surge towards the semi-finals with wins in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition yesterday.
Byron Bay were made to work for it, holding on for a 26-22 win over Northern United at Crozier Field, Lismore.
But Ballina blew Casino off the park with a 44-0 drubbing at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.
Fullback Brett Kelly and winger Liam Anderson bagged doubles as the Seagulls ran in eight tries.
The game was effectively over as a contest by half-time as a converted try to centre Clarence Kelly took the score to 30-0 just before the break.
The Cougars had no answer to anything that was thrown at them and they rarely looked like breaking through the Ballina defence.
Brett Kelly toyed with the Casino defence several times, skipping from one side of the field to the other.
He scored a try and set up another for Anderson before heading off for an early shower.
"It's a big effort to keep a team like Casino to nil," Ballina coach Greg Barnes said.
"We had some guys backing up from rep duty and Alwyn Roberts was probably our best in the forwards.
"It's always been about defence and fitness for us and you really start to notice it when July rolls around.
"We have some injuries at the moment but it gives other blokes a chance to go out there and know they're playing for a position."
Five-eighth Andrew Battese made full use of the strong southerly wind and terrorised the Cougars with his kicking game.
That forced a lot of errors in the first half and Casino never really got their hands on the ball.
The Cougars were missing some size in the forwards without front-rower Jake Ngauamo and will need a couple of the big boys back from injury to be a serious threat in the semi-finals.