The Lyon roars when Ballina belts premiers
A RUTHLESS and well-drilled Ballina thumped the defending premiers Tweed Coast Raiders 38-6 in Ladbrokes Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Les Burger Field, Cabarita, today.
The Seagulls ran in four second-half tries with captain-coach Jamie Lyon having a hand in most of them.
He combined with fullback Oliver Regan for his two tries and threw the final pass that put winger Rhys Riches over to take a 26-0 lead in the 50th minute.
Ballina were physical in the forwards and beat the Raiders at their own game, driving them backwards in tackles and forcing errors.
It is the biggest loss for the Raiders since former Manly front-rower Brent Kite took over as coach last season and it also served as grand final revenge for the Seagulls.
The best might be yet to come for Lyon, who is running the ball more and hitting his straps with his kicking game.
"I've had a few niggling injuries but I'm starting to get a bit of match fitness under my belt,” Lyon said.
"We kept at them for the majority of the game and being a new squad we just want to keep improving.
"I'm really happy with our forwards; they've come together well and we have some quality players there.
"Nic Ritter is probably the form front-rower of the competition and he reminds me of my old (Manly) front-rower Jason King with that angry head on him.”
The offload of Ritter was a feature in the first half and the Seagulls' first points came from a pass between his legs which resulted in a try in the corner to winger Tupou Lolohea.
Ballina had a 12-0 lead after Lyon took off on the last tackle then handed off to Regan supporting through the middle.
The wheels were falling off the Raiders and they gifted Ballina a 14- point lead when they were penalised in front of their goal posts for dissent one minute out from the break.
Points finally came for the home team through the speed of centre Dom Murray when he scored from an individual effort in the 73rd minute.
Ballina lock Hayden Hansen scored just minutes later while Regan was unlucky not to cross for a third when he was dragged down just short of the tryline.
In other NRRRL games, Kyogle recorded its fifth straight win, downing Marist Brothers 26-18 at Kyogle.
Casino ran away with a 30-12 away win over Evans Head; Murwillumbah at home beat Byron Bay 23-10; and Cudgen defeated Mullumbimby.