SAD LOSS: Grant Cook playing for Mullumbimby in the NRRRL.
SAD LOSS: Grant Cook playing for Mullumbimby in the NRRRL. Marc Stapelberg

Victorious homecoming for Mullumbimby

MULLUMBIMBY celebrated its return home in style with a hard-fought 16-10 win over defending premiers Murwillum- bah yesterday in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

The Giants had not played a home game at Les Donnelly Field since August 2015 after they were forced to sit out last season due to lack of players.

It was always going to be an emotional game with the inaugural Grant Cook Cup on the line.

Cook played for both clubs and died after collapsing on the sideline playing for Murwillum- bah in the preliminary final last year.

It looked like it could have been an ominous day for the Giants when a perfectly placed kick from Murwillumbah halfback Wayde Kelly led to a try for the Mustangs in their first set of six tackles in the game.

They skipped ahead to 10-0 when an offload from lock Luke Hawkins resulted in a try to Matt Quinn.

The Giants were desperate for something before half-time and it finally came when a kick deflected back for Dylan Estreich to plant the ball down.

Murwillumbah were relying heavily on hooker Sam O'Dea and Kelly to get them around the park while the Giants were starting to chance their arm out wide.

Five-eighth Louie Earl had a great game for the home side with some brillant passes around the field while kicking his side out of trouble.

Centre Darcy Earl eventually broke through the Murwillumbah defence and it was 10-all with 20 minutes to go.

It seemed like the Giants were getting the upper hand and Murwillumbah were vulnerable after O'Dea came from the field with a head wound.

Bullocking second-rower Jack Govett exploded soon after with a break from the halfway line.

He managed to step around players on his way to the tryline and give his side the lead with nine minutes left.

Tempers flared on full-time when one of the Mustangs forwards flew in for a high shot which resulted in a scuffle.

He was given 10 minutes in the sin bin as the Giants ran the ball one last time before the siren.

In other games:

Evans Head accounted for Byron Bay 30-12 at Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head.

Ballina thrashed Cudgen 52-16 at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.

Casino beat Lower Clarence 34-32 at the Maclean Showground

Marist Brothers beat Kyogle 48-14 at Crozier Field, Lismore.



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