Grafton’s Ghosts and Rhinos will meet in the NRRRL tomorrow.
Grafton’s Ghosts and Rhinos will meet in the NRRRL tomorrow. Debrah Novak

Mateship a winner for Ghosts

MATESHIP – the ideal lives amid the huge demands and the emotional roller-coaster of thrilling victories and gut-wrenching defeats.

On Sunday at McKittrick Park the Rhinos and Ghosts will clash for the second time this season.

Both sides have the attacking arsenal to stretch even the best defences but it's playing for your mates, making that extra last-gasp tackle, which in the end can make the world of difference.

A big part of the Ghosts' success in recent years has been attributed to their willingness to go that extra yard.

But there's one more special ingredient which sets them apart from most NRRRL sides.

They are nearly all local juniors who have endured the ups and downs of life both on and off the footy field.

Back-rower Ben McLennan and winger Daniel Lollback are two players who have no hesitation in putting their bodies on the line in the heat of battle.

They both possess a raw-boned aggression. And when it comes to standing up for their team-mates, neither player will take a backward step.

“We definitely back each other up on the footy field,” McLennan explains.

“We stick up for each other. We are all local boys and look after each other on the field.”

McLennan said the whole team was almost inseparable.

“We socialise together, go pig shooting and fishing ... we practically do everything together,” he says.

“We're a close-knit unit. The Pommies are the only outsiders but they are now starting to join in with everything and becoming part of the club.”

Friends from a young age, McLennan and Lollback have played sport with and against each other and have been an integral part of the Ghosts' star-studded side.

“We grew up together and have been mates since we were about four-years-old,” McLennan says.

“Well not really,” quips Lollback. “We weren't really mates when we played hockey against each other.”

Lollback admits mateship is a big part of the Ghosts' culture and success. McLennan adds hard training is another reason his side remains undefeated this season.

“Mateship is definitely part of our success,” the 21-year-old winger says. “We don't like to let each other down in defence ... we take pride in our try line.

McLennan agrees.

“I suppose that's part of it but it's more that defence is drilled into us at training ... it's almost become second nature,” he said.

The Ghosts have struggled to rack up big scores in recent weeks but have managed to grab two competition points.

Tomorrow they take on arch-rivals, Grafton Rhinos, at McKittrick Park which promises to be a cracker of a game.

The Ghosts' last two outings have gone down to the wire, albeit against formidable opposition.

After five rounds the Rhinos have three wins and two losses but hit form last week belting Ballina 46-16.

The last time the two sides met the Ghosts' racked up a half-century but on their home ground the Rhinos may well give the defending premiers a run for their money.

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