He's back: Star player Rhys Henwood has returned to his former club Royals.
He's back: Star player Rhys Henwood has returned to his former club Royals.

Star player Rhys returns to Royals

IT’S UNUSUAL for a coach to be over the moon after a loss, but for City Bears coach Dave Dart going down 4-3 to an experienced Barbarians side was as good as a win.

“Even though we lost the game I’m stoked at how the boys performed,” a delighted Dart said.

“It’s the first game we have been beaten and surprisingly it’s the happiest I’ve been all year.

“We were missing Mitch Lollback, Ryan Cameron and Robbie Godwin but I was proud in the way the younger guys stood up to be counted.”

The game was played at a hectic pace with both sides not giving an inch and it was not until midway through the second half that Barbarians skipped ahead with two goals in quick succession.

“We’d get a goal then Barbs would reply ... it was like that for most of the game. They (Barbarians) scored a couple goals in a row to take a commanding lead until we scored late in the game,” Dart said.

For Bears, James Wilks and Michael Russ were solid at the back with Josh Lollback and Brent Russ providing plenty of quality ball up front.

However the highlight of the match was provided by Barbarians’ Brad Inmon who dived full-stretch to hammer the ball high into the left-hand corner of the net.

Dart predicted Barbarians as the side to beat this year, alongside Coffs Southside who remain undefeated.

In the other A grade fixture, Royals welcomed the return of Rhys Henwood who is relishing being back home in Grafton. Henwood guided Royals to a decisive 5-1 victory over Sailors and Royals coach John Taylor was happy to see his star player return to the fold.

“It’s a bonus to have Rhys back. City life never really appealed to him and he adds a new dimension to our attack and provides us with more experience up front,” Taylor said. After a stellar season with the bat for Brothers’ cricket team, Mick Summers showed his versatility by scoring three goals for Royals playing at left-inner.

Taylor said his side was slowly building momentum after getting off to a slow start to the season.

“It’s our first win for the season after struggling early on. We have finally got the monkey off our back and winning the game is a confidence builder,” he said

Taylor was full of praise for Summers, who scored a hat-trick, and Mick Hughes, who with Summers was voted Player’s Player.

Sailors are a relatively inexperienced side but under the astute guidance of Scott Smith are sure to improve as the season progresses. “Sailors were solid in the first half; I think the score was only 2-1. We ran away with the game in the second half with Rhys and Matt Lobsey providing quality ball up the middle,” Taylor said.

“The strongest aspect of their (Sailors) play was Scott Smith through the middle and Matt McLennan.”

It will be a huge test for Sailors this week when they travel to Coffs Harbour to play the in-form Southside team.

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