Tough ask for Rebels
IT was always going to be a tough task for the South Grafton Rebels to host the in-form Tweed Coast Raiders and so it proved, as the club lost all three grades to the North Coast outfit. First grade had the worst of it going down convincingly, 98-12.
The Raiders were a better team in all departments. The forwards were bigger and fitter than the Rebels' pack and their backs were lightning quick and had plenty of ball skills.
The Raiders gelled well as a team and their hard and straight runners, had plenty of off-load options as support players were generally there in numbers.
In the end the visiting team just had too many options and faced no major hazards when it came to capitalising on them.
To its credit the South Grafton side never gave up and was fighting hard right to the end of the game. It is a trait the side is proud of, and one promised by the Rebel's halfback, Steve Kirby, before the game.
The Rebels fared marginally better than last week when they went down 100-6 to Marist Brothers. So keeping the Raiders below 100 was some sort of moral victory.
Early in the first half before the game got away from them, the Rebels were getting good possession and making their way into the Raiders quarter without too much trouble.
But they lacked the attacking firepower to get over the line and several high-kicks into the in-goal area failed to generate points.
Enter Scott Cooper who made a barnstorming run from a penalty tap taken about 8 metres out from Tweed's line to register first points for the home team.
It was a great forward's try as he took several defenders over the line with him. Brendan Hardy did well to notch the extras and it was a quite respectable scoreline of 12-6 to the visitors.
But Tweed had already shown that they could score from just about anywhere on the park and they went on to do it easily. At half time they had raced away to 52-6.
Kirby buoyed the home side early in the second half when he made a run from inside Tweed's 20 metre line and chipped over the top, re-gained and chipped again for a sprint to the ball, which he won, and scored a good try for the home crowd.
But the Tweed try scoring resumed after this and the coach could well have been disappointed as they rushed a few opportunities and fumbled the ball on enough occasions to slow themselves down.
By this time too, South Grafton were getting tired and simple mistakes, such as missing a kick for touch from a penalty, started to bog them down. It also meant the opposition had too much ball.