By TONY WHITE
THE golden boot of Simon Green has proved a vital last minute match winner for the Jacaranda Hotel Redmen in successive high pressure games.
But the 37-year-old flanker has pleaded with his team mates not to be left in similar position against Ballina at Oakes Oval, Lismore, on Saturday when the Redmen clash with Ballina in the Far North Coast Rugby Union grand final.
On August 27, Green's last-minute, 45-metre, wobbly penalty kick against Ballina in the final round of the premiership booted the Redmen into the major semi-final when they beat Ballina at home for the first time in 14 years, 25-24.
Incredibly, two weeks later against Casino, Green found himself in an identical position.
Launched into the cliffhanger when a Redmen player was taken to the blood bin, he was again left with the responsibility of having to kick a 40-metre penalty in the final minute to catapult the Redmen into the grand final.
Talk about high drama and deja vu.
The blacksmith-welder with nerves of steel stepped up to the mark amid raucous hoots and jeering from Casino locals and calmly potted the match winner.
"I've told the boys this run (kicking goals) has got to stop," Green said.
"I don't want to be left having to kick the match-winner again. Surely not three times in a row, it's madness."
The pressure against Casino was immense. A lone Redman in the lion's den, Casino fans roaring and catcalling Green's every move.
The result hinging on a single kick.
Green admitted the theatre was incredible.
"I've never heard roaring in my life like it," Green said. "It's the most pressure I've ever felt.
"I was only about 10m from the sideline and they (Casino fans) were hooting, calling me lolly legs and what not. The noise was just unbelievable.
"I just tried to blank it out as much as possible.
"When I first struck the kick they (Casino fans) started cheering because it looked like it was going to miss but then it curled back, it was quiet amazing. Everything went quiet.
"I threw my hands into the air, looked to the sky and said 'thanks'."
Green was aware half his team mates couldn't watch the attempt.
Captain Rob Brown recalled the magical moment.
"I turned away and told one of the other players to tell me what happens," Brown said.
"The pressure Greeny was under was unbelievable.
"I eventually heard the crowd go quiet and I knew it was over.
"I've known Greeny for 15 years and I know what a genius goal kicker he is, especially for a bloke that hardly ever practises.
"Yeah, he doesn't want to be in the same position again. We'll be doing our best not to let that happen."
Green has enjoyed plenty of grand final success with the Redmen playing in five premiership winning minor grade teams.
After having 2004 off he decided to return to the club after working hard to get back into condition.
"I came back to have a run in third grade with the boys, ended up in seconds and now firsts," he said.
"Its been an unreal year to come back. A premiership would top it off."
Go The Redmen!