Redmen edge close to semi safety
By Tony White
The Grafton Redmen moved a step closer to a finals berth with a dogged 26-3 win over the Pacific Hotel Yamba Buccaneers at Yamba Oval on Saturday.
The local derby was a dour affair with the Redmen only asserting their authority in the second half.
If the Redmen can beat Wollongbar away next week and gain a bonus point they will virtually shore up a semi-final spot in the Far North Coast Rugby Union competition.
"Southern Cross University had a big win this week and they are finishing strongly," Redmen coach Gary Powell said.
"They play Lismore next week which will be a difficult game.
"We're trying to win our last four games. If we can beat Wollongbar next week we should just about get a finals spot."
While the Buccaneers are running last in the FNCRU competition, the team from Yamba are a far better outfit than their position suggests.
The Buccaneers put it right to the Redmen in the first half dominating posession.
"We only entered their half four times in the first 40 minutes and managed to score two penalties," Powell said.
"Fortunately our defence held solid.
"In the second half our forwards took over and started to dominate."
The Redmen led 6-3 at half time then early in the second half, man of the match, Redmen fullback Justin Spurway, crossed then 37-year-old second-rower Si- mon Green kicked a couple of penalty goals to stretch Grafton's lead.
Late in the match Redmen loose head prop Chris Jackson scored after a driving maul.
"It was a game of two halves. Our defence held solid across the park," Powell said.
"The Buccaneers tried to attack through the centres but Paul Allen and Scott Lloyd held firm.
"It was pleasing to come away with a win and importantly there were no injuries."
Powell praised the efforts of Buccaneers class lock Mitch McLennan and fullback Adrian Miller. Apart from Spurway, Powell said Green, second-rower Mark Robinson and five-eighth Jon Chevally had strong games for the Redmen.