GHS way too strong
By TONY WHITE
TWO thunderous bone-jarring tackles by Grafton High School second-rower Cameron Wicks set the tone for Wednesday night's opening round of The Daily Examiner Shield at McKittrick Park.
An impenetrable, pulverising defence laid the foundation for Grafton High's 20-nil win over arch rivals Maclean High in the open division.
In the first half Wicks initial body cruncher left his Maclean opponent felled and requiring medical attention.
Not long after the powerful back rower again launched himself at a Maclean ball carrier.
The sheer ferocity of the human collision reverberated around the ground.
Grafton have given early notice they are hell-bent on regaining the DEX Shield after last year's narrow 14-12 defeat by McAuley Catholic College.
The well-drilled and structured side, containing numerous Ghosts Under-18 players, were simply too classy, too quick and too strong for Maclean.
It took only four minutes for captain Anthony Don to slice through and score the first of his three tries.
Two minutes later Don was in again, halfback Josh Barber kicked his second conversion and Grafton led 12-nil.
Following some deft lead-up work by smart five-eighth Mitch Rouse, Don scored again in the 21st minute to take Grafton to a 16-nil lead.
The classy fullback managed to chime into Grafton's backline and slice through Maclean defenders on several occasions.
Maclean were shellshocked by the opening onslaught as Grafton defenders continued to pulverise their opponents with punishing defence.
When winger Ryan Martin broke from dummy half to score wide out in the 25th minute, Grafton had raced to a 20-nil lead at half time.
In the second half Maclean fought back, almost scoring on several occasions only to be stymied by Grafton's defence.
A brawl, involving more than a dozen players near Grafton's goal line in the 15th minute of the second half, resulted in Grafton's Rouse being sin-binned for 10 minutes. A couple of other players were lucky not to join Rouse.
Best for Grafton was Don, Rouse, who provided the catalyst to Grafton's attack and 'Crusher' Cameron Wicks. Barber, hooker Josh Salkald and Keiran Berroway also had fine games.
Maclean were best served by five-eighth Dan Galloway, prop Guy Barlow and back-rower Dan Rediger.