Redmen battle through first loss
RUGBY UNION: The first loss of the season is always hard - especially for Grafton Redmen who would have been minor premiers had they won at the weekend.
Hastings River Vikings beat the Redmen - their first loss this season. Ironically, the Vikings have also only lost one game this season and that was to the Redmen, so Grafton players knew they were up against a tough team.
First grade coach Craig Howe said they missed too many tackles and dropped too many balls in the first 25 minutes, and they couldn't gain back any ground.
"When we played them last time, their five eighth wasn't playing and their halfback was filling in," Howe said.
"This time, we played them with all their players in place.
"The team were disappointed, as they should be, but they didn't play horribly.
"We mentally weren't there for the first 35 minutes, we know that we can improve on that."
With a bye this weekend, the Redmen will spend two weeks preparing for their clash with Coffs Harbour Snappers, who have the biggest rivalry with the Grafton side.
"People seem to write off the Snappers when we're talking about the best teams in the competition. In my opinion, they are better than Hastings Valley," Howe said.
"Coffs, they can't make second place on the ladder, but they will be looking to knock us off."
With former Western Force player and now coach AJ Whalley in town, Howe said they will take advantage of his expertise at training this week.