Southern sons shine at Timber Cup
SOUTHERN Bundjalung have won the historic 2016 Timber Cup, fighting back against their Northern cousins to secure a memorable 46-34 victory.
The historic indgenous rugby league battle was hosted this year by Northern United, at Lismore's Crozier Field on Saturday.
The two invitational teams of 19 players, divided into north and south, played in dry conditions perfect for entertaining and high-scoring rugby league.
The Timber Cup trophy is believed to have been contested as early as the 1930s between teams like Coraki, Tabulam and Wardell which included a number of indigenous players.
Southern Bundjalung won it under the representative format in 2013, followed by Northern the following year, with the match not played last year.
Crowds, including Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, flocked to Lismore from all over Bundjalung country for the much anticipated clash.
Before the game kicked off, the Timber Cup sprint races for children were held on the field from 11am.
Winners across all divisions from five-years-old to 16-and-over, all recieved prizes.
It was the Northerners who got off to a flying start, posting 16 unanswered points in the first half, until Southern Bundjalung began their resurgence.
"Northern were in the lead and then going into half-time Southern crashed over for a few tries," organiser Naomi Moran said.
At the half time break, Northern led Southern by 22-16, and like in many Timber Cup games an arm wrestle developed as the final siren approached.
Southern ran in several unanswered tries to take the lead 34-22 early in the second half.
"After half-time it was tit-fop-tat with both sides scoring tries until the scores were level at 34 all midway through the second half," Ms Moran said.
"That's when it got really exciting for supporters from both sides.
"Then Southern launched a resurgence and kept crashing over for tries."
Southern were the better team on the day, Ms Moran said, with the game played in great spirit by both teams and no disputed ref's calls.
"Both teams only had a week to prepare for the game and the level of football on display was impressive.
"Southern Captain Joshua Cook said the first time they all got to run together properly was in the warm-up for the game, so he was pretty proud of his boys and he'd like to see the tradition that is the Timber Cup held every year.
Fullback for the Southerners, Corey Torrens was a popular choice in winning Player of the Match.
"Corey Torrens and Nick McGrady for southern both had impressive games scoring a couple of times each," Ms Moran said.
"The standout players for Northern were Brett Kelly, who always has a good game, Cory McGrady and also the captain Jamahl Roberts had a really good game and everyone was impressed by his leadership on the day."