Defensive clinic helps Ghosts to home thrashing

LOCKED UP: Grafton Ghosts front rowers Adam Slater and Riley Law combine in a strong effort to bring down Sawtell centre Jeelyn Kahu during the Group 2 first grade clash at Frank McGuren Field.
LOCKED UP: Grafton Ghosts front rowers Adam Slater and Riley Law combine in a strong effort to bring down Sawtell centre Jeelyn Kahu during the Group 2 first grade clash at Frank McGuren Field. Matthew Elkerton

RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton Ghosts stood tall in the face of a lopsided penalty count from referee Lloyd Lynwood to record another shut-out on home soil.

Grafton withstood an 11-6 penalty count as they crossed 11 times against Sawtell Panthers, running out 62-0 victor.

Ghosts have not had a try scored against them on home soil now since the Battle of the River local derby against the South Grafton Rebels on April 9.

"Golden Boot" Todd Cameron put on a goal- kicking clinic for the Ghosts faithful with the crafty hooker nailing nine of 11 conversions from all blades of Frank McGuren Field.

Grafton was on the back foot early after consecutive penalties gifted Sawtell clear passage up the field. But the home side refused to let its defence wilt under pressure.

Grafton was rewarded for its resolve instantly after dummy-half Todd Cameron sliced his way through the Panthers defensive line on a scoot out of the ruck.

Cameron ran it in under the posts to take his individual season points tally past 100 and give his side the early lead.

Enigmatic fullback Mitch Lollback was about to double the home side's advantage when he sliced through for a long-range effort on the following set of six, but Panthers halfback Lachlan Miller, who crossed the field and chased 50 metres to bring down Lollback stopped the try.

Miller's solo effort in defence did not appear to inspire his teammates though as two passes to the right and Matt Muller extended the home side's lead with a simple effort.

Despite the soft running underfoot, the Ghosts lightweight backline was making metres at will out of its own end with Dylan Collett also breaking through on his own 40-metre line to streak downfield.

But it was another certain try-saver from the Panthers' halfback which stopped Collett in his tracks.

The home side refused to relent with their assault on the northern end and it took a miracle effort from winger Mitch Gorman to add to the scoreboard with a full- stretch effort in the corner.

Grafton withstood another barrage of Panthers offence after penalties helped put the visitors back into the blue and whites' end.

But it was a brick wall of defence set in front of them as the Ghosts shut out the Panthers to head to the sheds with a 16-0 lead.

The second half was much of the same recipe for the Ghosts side as they started full of gusto to extend their lead through centre Khan Williams.

Grafton was full of running and not willing to let up as Carlton Elliott barged across for his own four-pointer.

An intercept try against the run of play to Ghosts winger Gorman signed the fate of the Panthers and the visitors' heads began to drop.

The Ghosts halves pairing Clint Greenshields and Jake Frame both crossed the line as Grafton continued to cut swathes through a downtrodden Panthers.

Williams had a field day on the right edge as he bagged his second try of the afternoon and set up a four-pointer for winger Joel Moss.

Then Ben McLennan rolled the dice on the final siren with a chip over the top to a flying Gorman who iced the afternoon with a hattrick.

SCORELINE: GRAFTON GHOSTS 62 (Todd Cameron, Matt Muller, Mitch Gorman 3, Khan Williams 2, Carlton Elliott, Clint Greenshields; Jake Frame, Joel Moss tries; Cameron 9 goals) def SAWTELL PANTHERS 0


It was a high scoring weekend elsewhere around the Group 2 first grade competition with Coffs Harbour Comets going agonisingly close to becoming the second team to notch a century scoreline this season. 

Comets centre Brogan Melrose put in a scintillating performance to score four tries as they racked up a 96-0 scoreline against a listless Bellingen-Dorrigo Magpies. 

South Grafton Rebels registered its second loss of the first grade season going down 34-22 in a thrilling contest at Woolgoolga Sports Ground. 

Down 34-0 at one stage the Rebels fought their way back late in the second half, but left their run a little too late to change the result. 

While over at Coramba on Friday night an unexpected power outage midway through the Ladies League Tag clash brought the night of rugby league to an early end. The two clubs are yet to work out a catch-up date.  

Topics:  clarence league country rugby league crl grafton ghosts group 2 rugby league sawtell panthers

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