By MAX GODBEE Rugby league writer
LOWER Clarence handed a football lesson to South Grafton, winning 28-14 in an action packed round 15 local derby encounter of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition under lights at the Maclean Showground on Saturday night.
South Grafton were still well in the game at half time with the scores locked at 10-all with two tries and a goal apiece.
The Magpies controlled most of the second session outscoring the visitors three tries to one with each of their tries converted by the versatile Adam Elliott.
They also attacked the Rebels' line on more occasions and went extremely close to scoring at least three more times.
Lower Clarence, led magnificently by their forwards, the run-on six and the replacements, tackled The Rebels out of the game They kept South Grafton's big attacking weapon, hard running prop forward Xavier Sullivan quiet for most of the game. Not particularly focusing on him but making sure he was grassed in low tackles as soon as possible after he received the ball.
By doing so The Magpies prevented Sullivan from making his usual dashing runs which have seen him scuttle the defence and race in 10 tries, some from his own side of half, in his the past eight games.
South Grafton played with 12 men for the final nine minutes of the first half and early in the second session with over-active five-eighth Andy Bell sin binned.
Bell was then dismissed from the field on a touch judge's report 23 minutes into the second half and will face the judiciary charged with a reckless and dangerous tackle.
Lower Clarence lock and captain/coach Jason Hebbard put his team's win down to two salient features, completions and defence.
"We were able to hang onto the ball better than in previous games and our defence was rock solid," he said.
FIRST GRADE: LOWER CLARENCE 28 (Darrin Essex, Grant Brown, Adam Elliott, Aaron Murray, Luke Mapperson tries, Adam Elliott 4 goals) d SOUTH GRAFTON 14 (Paul Donovan 3 tries, Dallas Waters goal. Referee Dion Aldridge.
Scrums Lower Clarence 11, South Grafton 5. Penalties South Grafton 11, Lower Clarence 10. Half time 10-10.
RESERVE GRADE: SOUTH GRAFTON 56 (Adam Shiels 2, Josh Nagle 2, Scott Mason 2, James King, Allan Walker, Mark Laurie, Mark Priestly tries, Joe Gordon 6, Mark Laurie 2 goals) d LOWER CLARENCE 14 (Carl Laurie, Anthony Hickling, Damian Randall tries, Carl Laurie goal). Half time 14-14.
UNDER-18: LOWER CLARENCE 34 (Aaron Taylor 2, Grant Brown 2, Tom Martin, Luke Vial tries, Grant Brown 3, Aaron Taylor 2 goals) d SOUTH GRAFTON 10 (Damian Deery, Billy Hodge tries, Dwayne Randall goal) . Half time Lower 16-10.