FORGET the 44-10 scoreboard, the Grafton Ghosts versus Lower Clarence match was a cracker.
It may not have been a crunch match, but a local derby played in brilliant sunshine at the Maclean Showground in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Leading up to the match the street-corner tip was the Ghosts by 100 but the Magpies had other ideas as they ambushed the defending premiers in the first 15-minutes.
With the Terry Randall Shield up for grabs, the home side got off to a stunning start racing in two quick tries to take an early 10-nil lead.
The Ghosts appeared shell-shocked and continued to rack up uncharacteristic errors as Lower applied the pressure on the back of half-back Norman Williams' kicking game.
But as they have done so many times in the past the defending premiers managed to get their act together with some wonderful attacking football.
And when Lower's captain/coach Grant Brown left the field with a nasty gash to the forehead all of a sudden the Magpies were under the pump.
At times the home side eased the haemorrhaging through desperate defence but in the end the fitness and class of the Ghosts proved the difference on the day.
The battle up front between Ghosts Dave Emmott an Magpies' enforcer Ryan Binge was worth the price of admission alone while play-makers Ryan Farrell and Norman Williams were simply superb guiding their sides around the park
A bloodied Lower coach Grant Brown, who was one of the Magpies best before he left the field, said he was more than happy with his side's performance.
"Even though the scoreboard doesn't indicate it, I thought it was our best game of the season," Brown said after the match.
"It was a great effort on behalf of the boys and it was a team effort. As I said during the week it's all about commitment and confidence and we showed the Ghosts today we're here to play some good footy.
"We went well in the first 15-minutes and grinded away but a couple of mistakes and a couple of wrong decisions from the ref changed then game which was unfortunate.
Ghosts captain/coach Ryan Farrell admitted his side were outmuscled early on but added their ability to defend under pressure got them home in the end.
"I thought Lower played really well. The first 15-minutes they came out with plenty of aggression," he said.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Ghosts who are away to Casino tomorrow night.
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