THERE were a lot of disappointed players at Frank McGuren Park on Sunday afternoon having had another win slip from their grasp.
I am sure no-one at the ground was disappointed by the effort they put in.
It was pleasing to see a reasonable crowd at the game given that it was a long weekend and a fairly cold, windy day. Thankfully the rain held off.
A number of visitors were noted coming through the gate which helped swell the numbers.
The first grade team showed a lot of guts and determination with their effort.
Although beaten by two points they held a lead at half time, had a period in the second half when mistakes led to tries to the opposition but they still tried to the very end.
The BP Fitzroy Street award went to Tyson Donohoe, who is continuing to improve week by week and always puts in a wholehearted effort.
The return of Phil Warby provided some much needed attacking flair and the ball skills shown by Travis Daley indicated that had this combination been available all year a few narrow defeats could have been converted into victories.
nCOACH Matthew Michael must be frustrated because of the lack of wins when the team is trying so hard.
'Captain Cranky' had a few run ins with the referee but again had a big game.
He tells me he may, along with the big 'X', make a challenge to John Hopoate in the ring but seeing him on Sunday throw so many and missing with most, I think it may be wise to give that idea away.
The club is just short of a couple of class players to be a top side.
Attempts have been made to entice players to this town over the last couple of years but it is not an easy task due to finance and the demands made by imported players.
There are ongoing efforts to find suitable players for the club and if anyone out there who knows any footballer who may be interested they are welcome to contact the club.
n If all local players represented this town instead of going elsewhere there may have been no need to talk of 'amalgamation', 'merger' or 'one-team-town' concepts.
Many people are excited about Grafton having only one team in the town and believe it is the only way rugby league will survive here and if this comes to fruition hopefully all rugby league supporters will continue their support.
At the same time it would be a shame to see the demise of the Rebels and the Ghosts, the friendly rivalry that has been part of Grafton sport for so many years will disappear.
As treasurer I also fear for the gate receipts that will be lost.
nTOP marks to the reserve grade players who have to had to step up to fill the gaps in first grade.
Unfortunately what should have been a good reserve grade side, has been decimated by unavailability of first grade players who have had their positions filled by the Reggies.
This is causing a lot of frustration for coach Darrin and manager John who are having difficulty competing without a settled side, but continue to do their best with what is available.
Big Darrin came up with some bonecrunching tackles which left opposition players in Disneyland. I'm sure the players soon learned not to run at the big fella.
Dazza copped a knee injury during the game which is hopefully not too serious.
Three other players, Tingha, Dog and Jeremy sustained head cuts requiring stitches.
They were at outpatients for some time hoping another team mate may arrive so they could have a fourth for euchre.
nPLAYERS' Player again went to Chad Cassidy.
Chad's tackling style is something to be admired. Any big, ball playing player is Chad's target and when hit around the ankles they hit the deck hard and do not get the ball away. The big fellas hate him.
The Grafton District Services Club award was given to 'Sergeant Croydon' Pat Swift. Pat is a good player and club man, but his restrictive working hours prevent him from competing in every game.
nTHE Under-18s had a good win against a top side.
This team has the ability to beat any side in the competition but in the second half they did everything to throw the game away with errors. To their credit they came up with some great defence.
Some of our juniors are being looked at by Gold Coast Titans officials with the hope they can gain scholarships with that club.
MY dad Ned, who was an official of Grafton United football team, was the convenor of a meeting which amalgamated the United and Grafton All Blacks teams into one side for the 1963 season to play in the Group 2 competition.
These teams were both from the North side of the river, but there was opposition to the proposal at the time.
He tells me the meeting was conducted under 'Rafferty's Rules', but after all the arguments and organisation of the voting procedure he forgot to tender his vote.
The vote for amalgamation was a tie, but fortunately as convenor he had a casting vote which led to the formation of the 'Grafton' team.
As the new team or any of its players had not been registered with Group 2 for some months after the amalgamation, Daily Examiner sports reporter Reg Parkhouse wrote an article calling it a ghost team and hence the nickname was adopted by the team and Casper became its logo.
As I recall Casper was a friendly ghost. Maybe 'Spooky' who was a meaner ghost would have been a better choice.
The new team played in the Group 2 grand final in its first year, but were beaten by two points by Coffs Harbour.
-- Garry Berry.