Ghosts want another year at the top of the tree
THE GRAFTON Ghosts rugby league franchise has overcome serious injury woes through the year to remain a force in all three NRRRL grades in the finals at Ballina this Sunday
After making the grand final in all three grades last year, the Ghosts are keen to replicate the feat this year, starting with strong performances on the road this week.
"The Ghosts were in all three grand finals last year and that's the target again this year," Ghosts' president Neil Payne said.
"We've got a lot of players coming back from injuries, not just in first grade but right through the club.
"We should be pretty strong in each grade on Sunday and we're looking forward to some good results."
While Payne admits he would have loved to be hosting this weekend's round at Frank McGuren given the three grades are playing, he is content to host at least one round of the finals series on Ghosts' home soil, and hopeful of getting the right to host the NRRRL grand final.
"If first grade win at Ballina and then Murwillumbah we will host the grand final," Payne said.
"If we get beat at Ballina then we will play at home next weekend.
"If we win against Ballina but get beaten by the Mustangs then we'll host the final.
"It can get a bit complicated at this end of the year, but there's going to be at least one more home game for Ghosts fans to watch in Grafton."
There has been no progress made in determining if the Ghosts will participate in the NRRRL next year or make the long anticipated switch to Group Two with the teams in the south.
"There was supposed to be a boundaries meeting a couple of weeks ago," Payne said.
"But we lost Graham Murray and the meeting was adjourned until later. We have written a letter about it but haven't heard anything back yet.
"I think there would definitely be some positives in making the switch, not the least of which is reduced travel time for away games."
The Ghosts' dominance in Grafton is seemingly at the detriment of the other two Clarence Valley based clubs.
The Lower Clarence Magpies will take the first grade wooden spoon after fielding the same 18 players for the reserve and first grade matches against South Grafton Rebels on Saturday.
The first grade match was cut to 30-minute halves as a result but the leg weary Magpies, whish were also beaten in reserve grade, were unable to stop a 66-12 rout at the hands of the Rebels.
It was just the second win of the year for the Rebels, after they beat the Magpies 34-30 at Maclean Showground in May.