Derby brings out best in teams
THERE’S nothing like a local derby to bring out the best in players.
From the opening whistle the clash between the Grafton Ghosts and the Rhinos was always going to be a gruelling affair.
Both packs of forwards went at it hammer and tongs with some hits shaking the foundations of the McKittrick Park grandstand
The day was set up by a thrilling reserve grade match with the Ghosts crossing for a four-pointer on the bell to snatch an exciting draw
But it was the first grade match which held the most interest with one side attempting to go through the season undefeated while the other side was playing for survival in the NRRRL competition.
Both teams never gave an inch for the entire 80 minutes in what could only be described as good old-fashioned footy.
The battle up front was brutal, and out wide players ignited the crowd with some champagne rugby league.
It reminded me of the days when Manly and Western Suburbs fought out some bruising encounters during the late 1970s.
Manly – or the ‘Silvertails’ as they were labelled – were the glamour side in the competition and Wests were the battlers who became known as the ‘Fibros’.
There’s no doubting the Ghosts are the glamour side of the NRRRL. They have the best playing roster in the NRRRL which is a combination of local juniors and a sprinkling of overseas talent.
The Rhinos on the other hand are the battlers who on their day can mix it with the best teams in the NRRRL.
The fierce rivalry between the two teams was evident after the Ghosts’ victory on Sunday.
Even though the Rhinos lost, their supporters were over the moon knowing their side scraped into the playoffs.
The Ghosts fans however were happy for their team to come away with the two points but had an empty feeling knowing they had a chance to knock their arch-rivals out of the competition.