Redmen rumble to victory
By Dave Morrison
THE Grafton rugby juggernaut continued in emphatic style in Saturday's top of the table clash in the Coopers Far North Coast Competition when they trounced the previously undefeated Wollongbar to the tune of 50-7.
The Mighty River Redmen's eight-try-to-one flogging of the highly regarded Pioneers on their own turf has laid down the gauntlet to other sides and has set the scene for another mighty top of the table clash next week against second-placed Yamba in what surely must be the biggest local derby on the Clarence's sporting calendar.
Grafton blew Wollongbar away in a near-faultless opening 20 minutes in which they denied the Pioneers any ball and capitalised on every chance that came their way.
Prop Dan Hayne set the scene off a rolling maul in just the second minute, and by the time that centre Aaron Taylor had crossed for a brace of tries soon after, the writing was on the wall for the home side.
By midway through the half, the Redmen had secured the bonus point with five tries and had run to a match winning 29-0 lead, a score line that looked more than ominous.
Wollongbar held Grafton for the remainder of the half, but had trouble making any serious inroads in a Grafton defence that was equally impressive as their potent attack.
This trend continued for the early part of the second half, Wollongbar trying and Grafton holding firm.
Much to the pleasure of coach Gary Powell, having absorbed the Pioneers best for an extensive period, the Redmen finished off with three further converted tries to record their third consecutive half century, form that must surely have the Australian cricket selectors soon taking notice.
A late Wollongbar consolation try to get them on the board was the only blemish, one that captain Jon Chevalley was less than impressed with and he let the side know it in no uncertain manner behind the posts, an indication of a great killer instinct in this side.
Powell was understandably happy with his side's performance, in particular with the way that they started on fire, absorbed the expected reply from Wollongbar, then clicked up a gear to finish off.
It was no walk in the park for the Redmen, Wollongbar provide plenty of physical presence and there were many bruises after the game.
Chevalley, at inside centre, was tremendous, as Redmen supporters would expect, and was again man of the match.
Prop Hayne continues to show why he is the best in the Zone, and one of the best ever in the Grafton blood and bandages, with his work rate around the field a feature.
Flanker Paul Cameron, lock Jono Speechley and five eight Jason Landrigan were others to shine in a side which it is terribly difficult, if not unfair, the mention individual names.
n The Bailey and Gough Redmen seconds got home with a tight 8-5 result that keeps them in the hunt.
A field goal from five-eighth Andrew Roseby in the final play of the game split the deadlock to secure the vital win.