Casuarina puts Redmen to the sword with second half blitz
MCKIMMS Grafton Redmen co-coach Brent Berrick is a proud man - losses cut deep.
Against Casuarina in Round 1 of the Coppers Far North Coast rugby competition on Saturday, he could have come up with a myriad of excuses for his sides 46-15 loss to the visitors.
No trial games, lack of match fitness, players playing out of position and several rugby league debutantes trying their hand at the 15-a-side game.
Although proud of his side's overall efforts, he highlighted poor execution and missed opportunities as key components to the loss.
"I'm not prepared to make any excuses," Berrick said after the game.
"At the end of the day we had our own expectations and we let ourselves down in the last fifteen minutes.
"We made some critical decisions and did things one out, and they (Casuarina), are too good a side to do that against.
"There was definitely a lack of experience out there today but I'm so proud of the effort the players put in. There are plenty of positives to work on."
The visitors got off to a flying start but just as the contest threatened to turn into a rout, Grafton sprung to life, going to the sheds just two points behind at 17-15.
After the break Grafton pinned the Barbarians deep inside their own half but failed to find the chalk. For Berrick, it was the turning point of the game.
"We had three lineouts 15 metres out from their tryline and should have capitalised," he said.
"We lost all of them which led to them counter-attacking and scoring two tries."
"To be fair, we did have three blokes who have never been in a lineout until today."
With 15-minutes left on the clock and glutton of possession, the Redmen fell victim to a stunning onslaught by the visitors who racked up 18 unanswered points.
There were several new faces for the Redmen with second-rower James Hughes and breakaway Tyler Hancock both making their presence felt on the field.
Hughes had a debut to remember crossing for a double in his first appearance for the Redmen.
Grafton's Southside Pharmacy second grade side were outclassed by Casuarina 62-8
The next clash for the Redmen is an away game against Bangalow, who recorded a narrow win over Casino on Saturday.