ILUKA PRIDE: Cossacks go down swinging in semi-final
AFTER a dream run in last year’s Presidents Cup finals, Iluka Cossacks came close to booking a return but fell short in a 21-15 minor semi-final loss on Saturday.
Playing the Richmond Range for a second time in two weeks, Iluka had the winning formula with a 17-14 win just seven days prior, but their opponents came out on top in Byron Bay.
Trailing 14-3 at half time, coach Tony Wiseman had to rally his troops for a big second stanza and the comeback was on as Iluka went 15-14 half way through.
But with just 16 players at his disposal, Richmond Range took hold of the game and came home strong to progress to the preliminary final against Evans River Killer Whales, who lost 36-14 to Byron Bay in the major semi-final.
While the Cossacks had hoped to make up for a loss in last year’s decider, coach Wiseman was pleased with his side’s performance after assembling a ‘rag tag’ team.
“Great game today by the Cossacks, with a huge injury toll we could only manage 16 players. We may have lost 21-15 but every single player put in huge effort to be proud of,” Wiseman said.
“We would like to thank all our sponsors, supporters and volunteers for another successful year. Go the mighty Cossacks.”
Drawing on players from the Yamba Buccaneers, Lower Clarence Magpies and South Grafton Rebels, Iluka had difficulty jelling as a unit early on but some huge results were a sign of a very talented group of players.
As clubs around the Clarence Valley look to return to normal in 2021, we may never see this same group of players playing on the same team again and what a fantastic effort to see each and every one of them playing for the love of the game.
Far North Coast Rugby Union Major Semi-Final Results
Lennox Head 42 (Penalty Try, Zac Beecher 2, Berrick Barnes, Tas De Groot, Brad Lees tries, Berrick Barnes 5 conversions) d Ballina 15 (Jakob O’Connor, Nick Watson tries, Tom Watson conversion, Sam Giltrap penalty goal)
Half Time: Lennox 14 - Ballina 3
Ballina 19 (Harley Armstrong, Nat Hooper tries, Nick Brydon 3 penalty Goals) d Wollongbar 17 (Angus Levot, Vincent Chee tries, Jaiden McDonald 2 conversions, penalty goal)
Half Time: Wollongbar 14 - Ballina 8
Casuarina 21 (Zac Hanna, Willis Coetzee, Tuveia Leon tries, Harry Hall 3 conversions) d Lismore 7 (Nick Forzan try, Braeden Williams conversion)
Half Time: Casuarina 7 - Lismore 0
Ballina 22 (Jadha King 3, Kerene Bienke tries, Jadha King conversion) d Evans River 10 (Georgia Slade, Daisy Gordon tries)
Half Time: Ballina 5 - Evans River 0
Byron Bay 36 (Campbell Harvey 4, Duane Pakai, Jack Collett tries, Campbell Harvey 3 conversions) d Evans River 14 (Adam Armistead, Joel Spoor tries, Michael Miskle 2 conversions)
Half Time: Byron Bay 19 - Evans River 0