Northern United’s Dave Fernando comes up against a wall of Marist Brothers defence at Crozier Field in Lismore yesterday.
Northern United’s Dave Fernando comes up against a wall of Marist Brothers defence at Crozier Field in Lismore yesterday.

United the real deal in NRRRL

THE smile on the face of Northern United coach Chris Binge said it all.

His Dirawongs had just completed a 32-0 rout of Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League heavyweights Marist Brothers and the boss couldn’t have been happier.

“That’s what you call playing footy,” Binge said.

Six tries to none for their seventh win on the trot and a share of second spot on the NRRRL ladder – these Dirawongs certainly are playing for each other.

The once enigmatic outfit has turned talismanic with Roy Bell and David Briggs jnr displaying enough tricks to earn a spot in the travelling circus.

But if Bell and Briggs are the magicians, Evan Hickling and Grant Brown are the ringleaders.

Brown – the man who sank United with the winning field goal for Lower Clarence in the 2009 grand final – was the everywhere man against the Rams, running hard, hitting harder and capping his day’s work with a 40/20 near the end.

The spirit and willingness within the Dirawongs is there for all to see – every good deed earns 12 pats on the back as team-mates rush from everywhere to congratulate their mates.

And why wouldn’t they.

Yesterday’s shut-out of Brothers was only the third time a side has been held to zero in 2010 – the other two teams that failed to trouble the scorers were the struggling Tweed Coast and an injury-ravaged Ballina against Ghosts at Grafton.

But while United were brilliant, Marist Brothers were awful.

Wide-running back-rower Leon King was the only Rams runner to trouble the defence but his playmakers negated him more often than not.

Brothers coach David Krause was understandably kicking cans throughout.

“We just went away from everything that we had talked about all week,” he said.

“We knew what United would do – and they did it – but we just didn’t turn up to play.”

Kicks out on the full, poor passes, failing to find touch and handling errors were the order of the day for a Brothers side that couldn’t get out of second gear.

It took less than two minutes for Bell to put Briggs jnr over for the first try – if there was a judge he might have stopped the fight early.

Brothers stayed in the match to trail just 10-0 at the break but frustration well and truly set in as United bamboozled in the second half.

Northern United 32 (Briggs jnr, Bell, S Roberts, J Torrens, Jamahl Roberts, Hammond tries; Bell 4 goals) d Marist Brothers 0.

NRRRL LADDER:

Grafton Ghosts 28 (+517), Northern United 20 (+199), Cudgen 20 (+166), Ballina 19 (+100), Marist Brothers 18 (+85), Grafton Rhinos 18 (+60), Byron Bay 17 (+82), Murwillumbah 16 (+38), Mullumbimby 13 (-24), Evans Head 10 (0), Kyogle 6 (-220), Casino 6 (-158), Tweed Coast 4 (-379), Lower Clarence 1 (-474).

RESERVE GRADE

Marist Brothers 28 d Northern United 24, Byron Bay 34 d Mullumbimby 32, Casino 36 d Grafton Rhinos 16, Ballina 18 drew with Evans Head 18, Grafton Ghosts d Lower Clarence on forfeit, Kyogle d Murwillumbah on forfeit.

UNDER-18s

Marist Brothers 26 d Northern United 24, Ballina 40 d Evans Head 0, Tweed Coast 18 d Cudgen 6, Murwillumbah 24 d Kyogle 6, Grafton Ghosts 50 d Lower Clarence 14.



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