Redmen Bullish in trial win
By DAVE MORRISON
THE Grafton Mighty River Redmen kicked off their 2006 rugby campaign with an encouraging 27-12 trial game victory over a depleted Casino Bulls at South Grafton on Saturday.
Like most trial games, the score line mattered for little as both sides were missing players and the coaches took the opportunity to experiment.
Nevertheless there were a number of encouraging signs in Grafton's 5 try to two victory.
Their trademark rolling maul again looks to be a valuable weapon this year and set up the opening try for flanker Paul Cameron early in the second quarter.
Grafton had control of the game from mid-way through the second quarter and led 12-0 at halftime.
A late Casino surge saw them score twice and get to 12-17, however the Redmen came home strongly to score two more tries, to blindside flanker Bart McGrath and dynamic fullback Aaron Taylor.
McGrath and Taylor were two of Grafton's best with Taylor's counter attacking giving coach Gary Powell plenty of options.
Others to stand out included Matt Runge and Connor Maitland.
Powell was pretty happy with his side first hitout.
A full 80 minutes gave every one plenty of game time and the chance to iron out a few bugs before the competition starts in a fortnight.
No injuries was another bonus.
The lower grade trials against Woolgoolga and Byron Bay provided a feast of action with the spoils shared evenly.
The Woopi White Pointers performed above expectations, were very competitive in the tight, and certainly look to have proved themselves as a worthy addition to the Far North Coast Village competition.