By DAVE MORRISON
Rugby union writer
THE rampant Redmen rugby union team ran in eight tries, seven by an enterprising back line, to record a thoroughly convincing 42-16 victory over Southern Cross University at Grafton on Saturday.
With only one try being converted, a willing Student side kept in touch with the Jacaranda Hotel Redmen for the first stanza, Grafton's goal kicking woes being matched by University's Damien Thom, who slotted four from four in the first half including three difficult penalties in succession.
At one stage, Grafton had secured a bonus point with four tries to the Students' one, but only led 20-16 just short of half time.
The Redmen started well, controlling the ball for the opening five minutes of the match.
However, a turnover near the University line saw University hands on the ball for the first time in the match, and a couple of passes later, scoring a runaway 80-metre try to take an early 7-0 lead, totally against the run of play.
Grafton responded well, centres Paul Allen and Scott Lloyd capitalising with tries after good lead up work from the Redmen pack.
Grafton were dominating possession, particularly the lineouts where Mark Robinson was supreme, ably backed up by flanker Paul Cameron.
Two more tries late in the half to fullback Justin Spurway and Cameron, gave the home side a handy, but certainly not secure, 25-16 lead at the break.
Grafton were well on top, despite University competing very well at the breakdown in a very fast paced game.
The Redmen blew any Uni resistance away soon after the resumption, getting the ball wide to where the backs finished off excellent work in the middle from the pack.
Winger Brett Graham crossed twice and half Jason Landrigan, in his 100th club game, another as Grafton put the game well and truly out of the Students reach and threatened to rack up a cricket score.
However, the pace of the game, and the energy-sapping rolling mauls of the Grafton forwards seemed to take their toll of both sides, and despite constant pressure form Grafton in the final 20 minutes, nothing further was added to the score.
Afterwards, it was a very satisfied Grafton coach, Gary Powell.
"Our defence was exceptional, to hold any University side to just one try, which was against the run of play, is a sensational effort," he said.
He found it difficult to single out any player, as would have anyone who saw the game as it was a well-rounded effort from the Grafton side and one in which every player contributed.
Nevertheless, lock Robinson and five-eighth Jon Chevalley, along with Allen and Jason Landrigan were probably the pick of a very good bunch.