The South Grafton Rebels and Lower Clarence Magpies have flown the flag for the Valley so far this season.
The South Grafton Rebels and Lower Clarence Magpies have flown the flag for the Valley so far this season.

Cream rises to the top

By TONY WHITE

AFTER six rounds of the new Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition the cream is starting to rise to the top.

While the finals series is not until August, already the likes of new additions and premiership pacesetters Tweed Heads Seagulls and Murwillumbah have emerged as definite top six clubs.

And here on the Clarence the South Grafton Rebels and Lower Clarence Magpies have shown enough to suggest they can make the finals mix.

The Seagulls and Murwillumbah remain the only undefeated clubs on 11 competition points after five wins and a draw when they finished dead-locked 38-all in round two.

Ballina and South Grafton (11pts) have suffered one loss apiece while perennial Group 1 premiers Marist Brothers (10pts) have four wins and two losses.

Talk in league circles suggests Tweed Coast Seagulls are the benchmark this season.

They have the best attacking (288pts) and best defensive (88pts) record in the NRRRL.

A professional club under coach Troy McCarthy, the Seagulls have a solid defensive commitment and classy backs capable of scoring plenty of tries.

Some of the teams in the middle order like Lower Clarence (6pts), last year's Group One premiers Mullumbimby (6pts) and Cudgen (7pts) have enough talent on its rosters to make a challenge for the semis.

Unfortunately for the likes of the Grafton Ghosts, beset by injuries, Kyogle, Casino and Byron Bay, the clubs are struggling already and unless there is a major turnaround appear destined to finish in the bottom half of the league ladder.



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