Lollback in command to earn man of the match gong
RUGBY LEAGUE: For Grafton Ghosts enigmatic fullback Mitch Lollback the formula to playing football is a very simple one.
"I don't really have much of a plan when I go out to play, I just make sure I catch it and try not to get tackled," the speedy 25-year-old said. "I get in trouble a few times but it's all right."
But for all of the packed house at Frank McGuren Field on Sunday it was clear to see Lollback is underselling what he does on the football field.
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The third-generation Ghost led his side with vigour from behind the defensive line and was influential in nearly every attacking raid as the club capped a perfect season with a 32-12 victory over arch-rivals South Grafton Rebels.
And his efforts in the historic decider did not go unnoticed with Group 2 officials judging the fullback as man of the match in the first grade grand final, an award he was surprised to receive.
"I actually think I was lucky to get this award, I don't think I had my best game out there but I will take it," he said. "It was a massive day, it is just awesome for this town that both teams either side of the river got to do it all again, this time on our home ground."
It was the third premiership Lollback has claimed in Ghosts colours after playing in five deciders for the club, but he said it would stand out above the others for the significance of exacting revenge on the Ghosts Battle of the River rivals.
"It was good to get them back from last year, it is a massive advantage for us to have the home grand final, it's halfway there with that," he said.
"That one is probably going to go down as the favourite premiership, up against the Rebels, there is nothing better than playing those guys in the final and beating them. This definitely helps that heartache from the past 12 months."
The match was not all positive for the Ghosts custodian, who also spent time in the sin bin after a scuffle with Rebels five-eighth Hugh Stanley in the second half. Lollback said the melee was a result of emotions boiling over in what was a very physical clash.
"It was a good physical game, everyone knew there was going to be a bit in it," he said. "I didn't get any in on Hughie, I would never fight him again, I reckon he would back himself in most days. I think he was just trying to stir me up for a sin bin, it was just lucky he went too so we weren't at a disadvantage.
"Coming back from the bin I felt like I had let the boys down so I had to lift to that next level again."
Lollback did hit another gear on his return to the field even scoring a four-pointer after latching on to the end of a Clint Greenshields chip kick to plant the ball down inside the dead ball line and ultimately seal premiership glory for the Ghosts.