Ghosts trample hapless rhinos
OH THE sweets of victory.
The Grafton Ghosts celebrated one of their biggest wins in recent years emerging clear winners 62-16 against arch-rivals the Rhinos at Frank McGuren Park yesterday.
In a game loaded with illegalities, and one which was a nightmare for the referee, the Ghosts soaked up huge punishment in the first 20 minutes to stamp their authority and class on the game.
Four try hero and Ghosts fullback Anthony Don opened the floodgates after leaping above the pack to snare a four-pointer near the uprights.
The Rhinos’ right side defence was beautifully exploited by Ghosts captain Ryan Farrell in the first half, with Aaron Hartmann and Carson Galloway cashing in on some feeble Rhinos defence.
Hartmann had a blinder, crossing for two tries and kicking 11 goals for a personal tally of 30 points.
Former Newcastle Knight forward Danny Wicks earned his $50 a week taking the ball up off the kick-off time and time again and came in for plenty attention from the Rhinos’ players and vocal supporters.
In a fiery encounter something had to give and after a minor flare-up, Rhinos winger Joel Moss and Ghosts winger Daniel Lollback were sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.
With Farrell orchestrating the Ghosts attack and Grant Stevens and Nat Sewell making easy metres down the middle the Ghosts went to the break with a commanding 24-6 lead.
After Rhinos Dwayne Duke crossed in the corner and fullback Todd Cameron raced 70 metres to score under the sticks the crowd on hand started thinking about last season’s corresponding match where the
Rhinos came from behind to snatch victory.
But it was not to be.
The Rhinos’ lack of fitness saw them haemorrhage more points mid-way through the second half, and when Hartmann and Sewell crossed late in the game the Rhinos looked like a beaten side.
Although the Ghosts were far superior in all aspects of the game, the match will be remembered for a softening-up period which lasted the entire game.
There were fierce forward exchanges in a brutal game punctu- ated by high shots and bone-
jarring defence. The Ghosts may have little problems piling on the points but it was their defence which squeezed the life out of the Rhinos.
After the game Rhinos captain Xavier Sullivan, who received several stitches to his head, said the Ghosts were just too good on the day.
“We had a good preparation leading up to the game but the Ghosts are definitely the side to beat; they deserve the favourites tag,” he said. “We had bad communication and dropped too much ball.
“We have a good forward pack and I thought we handled them in the forwards, but we let ourselves down out wide.”
Sullivan made several typical barn-storming runs in a bid to lift his side, and giant prop Tim Tilse took the ball up all day.
For the Ghosts, Grant ‘Stumpy’ Stevens had a powerhouse game, and diminutive winger Carson Galloway was sensational, taking pressure off his forwards and making easy metres against a tiring Rhinos defence.
It was these little one per-centers that made the difference on the day, and the Ghosts will have their confidence sky-high after a derby triumph.
Ghosts centre Khan Williams, who was singled out by Sullivan during the week as a weakness in the Ghosts’ all-star defensive line, refused to comment to the Examiner after the game.
66 (Tries: A. Don 4, A Hartmann 2, K Williams 2 G. Stevens 1, N. Sewell 1. A Hartmann 11 goals) d Rhinos 16 (Tries: D Duke 1, X Sullivan 1, T Cameron 1. R Burley 2 Goals.Reserve Grade
Ghosts 18 (Tries: J Cheney 1, D Philipson 1, J Nagle 1 A Jurd 1. A Lancaster 1 goal) d Rhinos 15 (Tries: K. Mercy 1, L Worthing 1, O Monaghan 1. L Worthing 1 goal, O Monaghan 1 field goal)