Teams draw on fans' good will
THE judge could not separate Lismore and Ballina in FNC rugby union on Saturday with the finals-bound teams sharing the points from a 14-14 stalemate.
Lismore Rugby Park turned yellow for the Round 11 match with the biggest crowd of the year turning out for the club’s Cancer Council Call To Arms fundraiser.
But the home crowd was stunned into silence as the Seahorses jumped out to a 14-0 lead courtesy of tries to hooker Joao Fernandes Costa and centre Luke Watling.
A stiff half-time chat from Lismore coach Richard Hughes brought the Greens back into it but the deadlock couldn’t be broken as both teams had their chances in the run home.
But the excitement didn’t end with the final siren – that only signalled the beginningof the auction.
The 22 canary yellow jerseys the Greens wore for the first-grade match were auctioned off with proceeds going to the Cancer Council.
Club secretary Ian Barrett reported that all jerseys were sold for $100 or more, meaning big bucks for the worthy cause.
“I haven’t had a chance to do all the maths yet but I reckon we collected about $4400 through the jerseys,” Barrett said.
Former first-grader Damian Keys, who played thirds and reserves on Saturday, was the proud buyer of the highest priced lot, paying $240 for the No 1 jersey worn by Greens captain Matt Collins.
IN other FNC games on Saturday:
Lennox Head moved alongside Wollongbar-Alstonville at the top of the ladder by storming over the top of Grafton 48-0 in enemy territory.
Eight tries to none was more than enough to grab the bonus point as the Trojans stretched their winning streak to nine.
A month returned from representative duty and holidays, Sam Stewart is proving hard to catch as his combination in the centres with Braidon Boniface continues to bloom.
Stewart scored a brace of tries against the Redmen and had a hand in a couple more.
Captain Jeff Wilson said that the top of table was where the Trojans wanted to be and where they intended to stay.
He singled out young fly-half Mathew Barnes as starting to have a lasting influence on the team.
“He is really starting to feel comfortable and coming into his own,” Wilson said.
“He is getting better every week and in such a key position that is a big bonus for us.”
Wollongbar-Alstonville had the bye at the weekend and while the top two won’t meet again before the finals, they are now in direct competition for the minor premiership.
Southern Cross University won their second match of the year, 36-22 over Casino.
The Gold Rats are now one point behind the Bulls, who are in fifth spot, and while both are out of the finals race, a battle to be the best of the rest is heating up.
A fourth try to the Bulls secured a bonus point and allowed them to stay ahead of the Gold Rats.