Redmen big improvers

THE Grafton Redmen came close to breaking their duck on the North Coast Rugby Union ladder with 29-19 loss to Wollongbar Alstonville at Rugby Park on Saturday.

With less than five minutes on the clock, the Redmen were down by five points and pressing for an equaliser when play broke down and the Pioneers were able to score the match-sealing try against the run of play.

Redmen coach Scott Forwell was delighted with the performance after the thrashing the team received last weekend.

In stark contrast to the early rounds of the season, the Grafton forwards dominated their visitors, snatching six tight-head scrums and pinching almost all their throws into the lineout.

Number eight Jono Speechley and lock Matt Runge were on fire in the lineout and around the park and at outside centre Scott Lloyd was dynamic in everything he did.

Forwell was also thrilled to see young five-eighth Huan Collie keep improving and looking so assured in the top grade.

“Huan still qualifies to play under-19s and he played a full game for them and then played a full game in the firsts,” Forwell said.

Grafton returned to their traditional pattern of play in this game with the forwards pressuring the Wollongbar pack before releasing to the backline.

“We wanted to take it through the forward for six or seven plays before releasing it to the backs,” Forwell said.

“With a bit of luck we could have won this one,” he said.

“We're probably only a run away from winning a few games.

“We just lacked that little bit of confidence that would have got us there on Saturday.”

Forwell can now look forward to Saturday's game against Tweed Heads with confidence.

“We've had the same team on the paddock for three games and it's making a difference,” he said.

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