Redmen break drought in wet
TWO tries in two minutes midway through the second half proved the turning point in the Grafton Redmen’s 16-12 drought-breaking win over Southern Cross University at Grafton on Saturday.
The Far North Coast Rugby Union match was in the balance with the home side holding a slender 6-5 lead when Grafton No.8 Ben Robertson made a break down the blind side from halfway.
Robertson, who was one of his side’s best on the day, raced 40 metres before finding prop Jacob Page on the inside for a crowd-pleasing try.
Two minutes later, Grafton again found space down the short side to send winger Kyle Hancock on a 40-metre sprint to the line to deliver the home side a 16-5 advantage.
Despite their lead, it was not all plain sailing for the Redmen in what was a dour game in wet, slippery conditions.
They seemed to let their foot off the pedal to allow the Students in for a late try and had to defend stoutly under pressure for the final five minutes to seal the deserved result, their first win for the season.
With the try-scoring honours shared at two each, the match showed the value of taking points whenever they are on offer.
Fullback Huan Collie’s two first-half penalty goals the difference at the end.
The match never reached great heights, the wet surface a contributing factor however it was the numerous dropped ball from both sides, particularly in the first half, that prevented any real flow from developing.
Having said that, both sides were willing and the rucks fiercely contested throughout.
Grafton had their nose in front all day and were never headed on the scoreboard after Collie’s first penalty in the second minute.
Grafton flanker Tim Landrigan had a great game, his defence a standout.
Landrigan regularly cut down the dangerous University inside backs as the visitors threatened.
Lock Nathan Cooper likewise was prominent being powerful in the tight work while Robertson was constructive at the breakdown.
In the backs, centres Troy Munro and Shane Denshire formed a strong combination and started to take control of the midfield the longer the game went.
Southern Cross University