Buccs too hot for the FNC premiers
By Tony White
THE Pacific Hotel Yamba Buccaneers have pillaged another early-season win, this time against last year's premiers Ballina at Yamba Oval on Saturday.
Ballina were outplayed and out enthused to the tune of 37-8 in what was a dominant performance all over the park by the new-look Buccaneers.
The win was in complete contrast to the Buccaneers last start mistake ridden defeat by Wollongbar-Alstonville.
"They didn't make anywhere near as many mistakes as last game and they actually played much better than when we beat Lismore in the first round," Buccaneers coach Andrew Bennett said.
Bennett had worked hard with his team during the week and a better mental and physical approach paid handsome dividends.
After an even first stanza, with penalty goals to both teams by Adam Fisher (Ballina) and Lee Everett (Yamba), Buccaneers centre Tristan Allard posted the first try in the 15th minute.
That was followed by further trys to Sean Riley and star lock Mitch McLennan to take Yamba to a 20-3 lead after 28 minutes.
After a lax period by the Buccaneers, Ballina scored a pushover try just inside the break and went to half time trailing 20-8.
Three minutes into the second half Everett sliced through from a set move from the scrum-base then classy fullback Adrian Miller was in the right position at the right time to score following a near length of the field movement.
At 32-8 the Buccaneers were home and hosed, but inside the final 20 minutes, Paul Hope scored from a charge down to take Yamba to a 37-8 lead.
The final 20 minutes were scrappy with the game gone for Ballina but the defending premiers, minus three regular first graders, failed to cross Yamba's line.
Prop Anthony Edwards won the Players' Player Award after a whole-hearted effort.
Edwards received two points in the best and fairest with fly half Anthony Begg getting three and Everett, one.
McLennan and Miller were the other Buccaneers stars.
"It was a really pleasing win and while you can learn things from defeat you can also learn from victory," Bennett said.
"We've still got a number of things to work on and hopefully we can take our home form away on the road."
BUCCANEERS 37 Sean Riley, Paul Hope, Mitch McLennan, Lee Everett, Tristan Allard, Adrian Miller tries; Lee Everett 2 conversions, 1 penalty goal) d BALLINA 8 (Brent Horan try; Adam Fisher penalty goal).