NOT quite the results wanted from last weekend's opening round of rugby for the Redmen, but there were enough positives to be taken away form the day.
A disrupted Grafton line-up performed far better than the scoreline suggests against one of the premiership favourites, Ballina, leading at the break before falling away in the second stanza.
The second half result can't be glossed over, but it highlighted what needs to be worked on and the importance of playing at a level and to a plan for the whole 80 minutes.
The other positive was the great home crowd that turned up highlighting the level of support for the Redmen continues to grow.
The new covered seating on the hill was well received and patronised showing the club's continued efforts to put back into the facilities at Rugby Park are well worth the effort.
The other results brought little surprise with Lismore comfortable winners over Casino and Wollongbar likewise over University.
The big disappointment for the round was the washout between Coolangatta and Lennox which promised to be a real indicator of their respective premiership hopes. This weekend sees a general bye for Anzac day before the competition gets into full swing in a fortnight, with the Redmen away to Casino.
A DECLINE in referee numbers is starting to become a concern for zone officials following the retirement or otherwise of a number of officials from last year.
The local referees association is therefore putting the call out for anyone out there, experienced or otherwise, to put their hand up, either for senior grades on Saturdays or for the Friday night junior competition. Those needing qualifications, or just wanting to get a better understanding of the rules, can do the foundation course run by NSW Rugby, this Sunday at Grafton. Anyone interested needs to register in advance at www.coursepay.com.au/nswrugby.
GOOD news for the future of the sport in the area based on the outstanding success of the North Coast Academy of Sport side which took out the Academy Games competition at Armidale last weekend.
It was an outstanding win against squads from all over NSW, especially as the side was a relatively young one rebuilding after similar successes in the last two years.