United shred Rhinos defence
IN A 20-minute twinkling Northern United showed the firepower to suggest trouble for all NRRRL defensive lines as they belted Grafton Rhinos 38-18 at Crozier Field, Lismore, yesterday.
With Evan Hickling as puppet master, the Dirawongs went from 12 points down to 20 in front as they charged over the top of a Rhinos side that simply ran out of ideas.
Hickling was superb at halfback for the home side, scoring a brace of tries and laying on four more with back-rower James Roberts the major beneficiary, running the right lines to grab a double of his own.
United coach Chris Binge was forced into a difficult situation pre-match and had to stand down a host of players – including five-eighth Willie Hammond and hooker Jordan Green – for disciplinary reasons.
That forced a major reshuffle with regular winger Jamahl Roberts starting at dummy-half, Roy Bell moving in to second receiver and Fred Pitt and David Briggs sharing the fullback role.
But there was no slowing the Dirawongs who, after trailing 18-6, made purple ribbons of the Rhinos’ defence in the second stanza.
Hickling laid on the first try with a lovely ball for a rampaging Roberts and the second with a similar ball for Bell before Roberts lined up for seconds.
By then all the hard work was done and a dummy and step was enough to see the little halfback scamper over to grab his own four-pointer and give his men a 10-point lead.
NORTHERN UNITED 38 (James Roberts, Hickling 2; Briggs, Jamahl Roberts, Bell tries; Bell 5 goals) d GRAFTON RHINOS 18 (Raveuta 2; Towake tries; Worthing 3 goals.