Grafton Ghosts clinical in win over Orara Valley
RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton Ghosts were clinical in their efforts against a lacklustre Orara Valley Axemen in the Group 2 round three match at Frank McGuren Field on Saturday.
A flukish runaway try in the 3rd minute and a Steven Walker barge over late in the second half were the only blemishes on Grafton's record.
Whereas Orara lacked in all departments and their forwards struggled to match the Ghosts' big men physically and mentally while the outside men were no match for Grafton's speed in the backline.
But it was the basics that the Ghosts got right and proved the major difference. Grafton was disciplined on and off the ball and consistently completed their sets to get a kick away.
After initial Orara Valley try scored by five-eighth Mal Webster Jnr, the Ghosts were willing to grind down their opponents, giving them a lack of possession and hammering them in defence.
It was not until well into the second quarter of the match that the Ghosts struck through Lower Clarence convert James Hughes who crashed across the try line through some tired Axemen forwards.
After a mountain of defence the Hughes try broke the shackles for the Ghosts who utilised the final ten minutes of the first half to expose the tiring Orara Valley forwards.
Halfback Jayden Connors was influential in the next two tries scoring off a solo effort and then breaking through a hole in the middle of the park off second phase play before handing off to halves partner Nick Monckton in support who found Adam Slater sliding in under the black dot.
In the space of five minutes the Ghosts had extended their lead to 14 points and were not done yet with Slater scoring a second on the hooter after supporting a Robbie Howard break.
It was a stellar opening stanza for the Ghosts with the only low point being Matt Muller requiring assistance with a lower leg complaint. The high-flying winger took no further part in the game and was taken to hospital for further scans.
The Ghosts returned from the sheds in the same vein they left with Connors scoring in the opening five minutes.
But it was a Jay Olsen try in the corner that stole the show. The reserve grade replacement for Muller chased down a Connors grubber in the corner with the winger just getting a fingertip to the ball in an acrobatic effort.
The Ghosts were once again determined in defence, working the Orara Valley forwards over before capitalising on their fatigue in the latter stages.
The Ghosts ran in three late tries through Monckton and Collett before Orara crossed for a consolation try to big prop Steven 'Rocko' Walker.
An almost perfect goal kicking record for Connors put the icing on the cake for the home side who ran out 42-point victors.
Grafton Ghosts 52 (Jayden Connors 2, Adam Slater 2, Dylan Collett 2, James Hughes, Jay Olsen, Nick Monckton tries; Connors 7, McLennan goals) def Orara Valley Axemen 10 (Mal Webster, Steven Walker tries; Ant Cowan goal)
Who will win the 2016 Group 2 Rugby League First Grade Premiership?
This poll ended on 15 August 2016.
South Grafton Rebels
Coffs Harbour Comets
Nambucca Heads Roosters
Macksville Sea Eagles
Orara Valley Axemen
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.