Short gets second chance at first grade rugby grand final
WOLLONGBAR co-captain Gavin Short will finally get the chance to play in a Far North Coast Rugby Union first grade grand final next weekend.
Short was one of the Pioneers best when they blew Lismore off the park 38-17 in the major semi-final at Lismore Rugby Park on Sunday.
He missed the 2012 grand final when he was best man at a former teammates wedding.
Short has been playing flanker for the past two seasons but found his way back to hooker when Kirk Taylor-Brown left the field early with a shoulder injury.
"It's great to be able to throw a bloke like Gav straight in there," Pioneers coach Ben Grayndler said.
"It shows how versatile he is and he brings a level-headed approach to the game."
The Greens fate was just about sealed when replacement centre Reece Brown scored an intercept try for the Pioneers to give them a 23-6 lead.
They dominated every aspect of the game with wingers Nathaniel Regueria and Tom Steer scoring tries in the second half.
Five-eighth Ben Damen and his kicking game caused all sorts of problems for Lismore.
It had them on the back foot most of the afternoon with Damen slotting four penalty kicks at goal along the way.
City was aiming for 12 wins a row after taking out the minor premiership by 14 competition points.
They will have to get past a determined Byron Bay outfit in the preliminary final at Crozier Field, Lismore on Saturday.
The Pioneers will enjoy the week off with injures to second-rower Matt Scott, centre Vincent Chee, winger James Vidler and Taylor-Brown.
"We've put the hard work in and I'm stoked for the boys to be the first ones through," Grayndler said.
"We had a lot of sore bodies after the game but I couldn't pick a bad player from that performance.
"That sort of performance has been in us all year and I'm really happy we lifted in a big game."
Ballina and Lismore City have also made it through to the grand final after wins in reserve grade and president's cup.
Ballina five-eighth Nick Brydon kicked penalty goal on fulltime to snatch an 18-16 win against Lismore in reserve grade.
Lismore were made to work for a 20-19 win against Mullumbimby in presidents cup after trailing 13-8 at halftime.
- Preliminary finals at Crozier Field
- First grade: Lismore v Byron Bay
- Reserve grade: Lismore v Wollongbar-Alstonville
- Presidents Cup: Mullumbimby v Iluka