Rebels in total command
By MAX GODBEE
SOUTH Grafton were always in command thrashing a depleted Byron Bay 68-10 on McKittrick Park yesterday, to give the Rebels seven wins from eight games and continue their charge in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League 2005 competition.
The Rebels crossed for 12 tries, ten of which were converted, to just two tries and a goal from the visitors.
South Grafton crossed for their first try after one and a half minutes and had the game already well decided, leading 40-nil at the half time break.
Fullback Walter Donnelly was magnificent for the Rebels, scoring five tries in total, collecting each by his dashing speed and continual support play.
He did everything right in the custodian role as well, safe under the high ball, always in position and just about every time one of his teammates had the ball he was there backing up.
Byron Bay had several of their first grade players missing and although never in the hunt, never gave up trying and played their best football in the final 20 minutes of the match.
A big surfeit of penalties helped their cause too, handed 10 including six in a row at one stage in the second half, compared to just two overall to the Rebels.
South Grafton captain coach Steve Kirby who again turned in a big game for his side, said the number of penalties against the Rebels, week after week, was a matter of concern to him and his players.
Similarly, the dearth of penalties given against opposition teams, only eight in total in the past three matches, was just as concerning.
However, the lack of possession from this source once more did not seem to hamper the Rebels as they raced in the tries.
With so many South Grafton players looking impressive there were many vying for Man of the Match honours and it was Donnelly's all-round game and scoring almost half his team's big try tally which gained him the decision.
As usual lock Scott Laurie handed in a blinder in attack and with his punishing defence. He scored one try and booted nine goals from 10 attempts from all parts of the field.
Prop Xavier Sullivan had his usual defensive and bustling game and scored two tries.
In the back line halfback Dallas Waters was back to his brilliant best combining well with tackling machine Andy Bell at five-eighth.
Centre Ken Mercy was in plenty of the action and also scored two fine tries while winger Dave Purcell again proved he has among the safest hands in the Northern Rivers competition.
Among the best players for Byron Bay were the try scorers, centre Charles King and lock Matt Slattery, along with tough prop forward Mark Caldwell who took the ball up hard all day and did plenty in defence.