League’s back

GRAFTON Ghosts officials were searching through the record books after their star fullback Anthony Don crossed for five tries against Evans Head at Frank McGuren Park on Sunday.

Don had a field day as the premiership favourites disposed of a shell-shocked Evans Head 46-16.

The elusive fullback was untouchable at times as he toyed with the Bombers defence carving them up out wide almost at will.

Not expected to take the field after a training mishap on Thursday night Don set McGuren Park alight with sheer speed and deft footwork.

Ghosts officials were not sure if Don’s five-try-haul was a club record but the man himself said it’s a first in his rugby league career.

“It’s a first for me in league but I think I scored five when playing for under-20 Colts at Uni...but we had a good side and were beating teams by 100 each week,” Don said after the game.

Asked if he relished playing behind a star-studded pack Don said it certainly made his job at the back much easier.

“It makes it easier playing behind guys like ‘Stumpy’ (Grant Stevens) and Benny (Ben McLennan), and Danny Wicks always makes 20 metres each time he takes the ball up,” he said.

Evans Head looked like they turned up to play with their forwards taking it up to the Ghosts pack early on. With all the possession and field position the Bombers put a scare into the Ghosts camp until a mistake saw Ghosts lock-forward Don Dickson provide a clever inside ball for Don to score the first of his five tries.

The Ghosts threw everything at the Bombers defence and with Danny Wicks running out wide and Ben McLennan off-loading on the edges they went to the break in a commanding position at 20-6.

With match winners all across the park the Ghosts ran riot in the second half all though at times were guilty of pushing the passes.

Not far behind Don on the day was Aaron Hartmann who was simply superb in the centres. Hartmann’s bullocking runs down the left edge and stinging defence confirmed why he is regarded as the best centre in the competition.

Evans Head were willing in the forwards but their backs found it difficult to crack the Ghosts defence particularly each time they went down Hartmann’s side.

The Bombers scored two late tries to gain some respectability but on the day were outclassed and out-muscled.

It was a convincing win for the Ghosts but there were concerns in the way they turned over possession in their own half.

Once again their right side defence looked brittle with players sprinting out of the line or failing to communicate with their inside defenders.

Wicks was at his damaging best and picked up a double and when fully fit should cause even more headaches for opposition defences.

Coach Col Speed was busy all afternoon with the interchange and at times had players playing out of position which appeared to affect the Ghosts game plan. Captain Ryan Farrell said he was also concerned with the amount of turnovers his side made but was happy to come away with the points.

“There was a lot of drop ball out there today...it was very scrappy,” Farrell said. “It was scrappy last time we played then...I don’t know why but I suppose two points is two points.”

First Grade

Ghosts 46 d Evans Head 16

Ghosts ( Anyhony Don 5, Khan Williams 2, Danny Wicks 2. Aaron Hartmann 5 goals)

Evans Head ( Anthony Robinson 1, Darcy McKenna 1, Cody McKenna 1. Anthony Robisnson 2 goals)

Reserve Grade

Ghosts 30 d Evans Head 24

Ghosts ( Phil Warby 3, Marty Wicks 1, Nick Bell 1, Josh Farrell 1. Josh Nagle 3 goals)

Evans Head (Lloyd Lohan 1, Dylan Morgan 1, Mat Brunsday 1, Corey Flarthey 1. Luke Manning 1 goal, Elliott Robertys 3 goals)

Under-18s

Ghosts 38 d Evans Head 6

Ghosts (Kieran Law 2, Mitch Lollback 1, Jake Lennon 1, Jake Frame 1, Sam Lennon 1, Christian Bowerer-Betts 1. Jake Lennon 4 goals Jake Frame 1)

Evans Head (Cody McKenna 1. Cody McKenna 1 goal)



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