Redmen extinguished at Bangalow
BANGALOW extinguished any hopes the Australian Hotel Grafton Redmen had of a final's berth with a comfortable 32-20 victory at Schultz Oval on Saturday.
Grafton fell victim to an early onslaught from the Rebels and never really recovered.
Starved of possession for most of the match, Grafton went down fighting and staged a stirring comeback late in the contest with three unanswered tries.
However it was to little to late against a Bangalow outfit brimming with confidence.
Bangalow's counter-attack and wiliness to spread the ball continually stretched Grafton's defence out wide. And the scoreline could have been a lot worse if not for several try-saving tackles from centre Tom Ellem and Kyle Hancock at the back.
Grafton battled hard but disruptions proved insurmountable for the visitors.
Second grade halfback Simon Robinson put in a herculean performance backing up from second-grade while Mr-Fix it, Jon Chevalley, was a late inclusion at five-eighth.
For Grafton fullback Kyle Hancock the loss was a bitter pill to swallow with his side in final's contention for most of the season.
"It was a disappointing result," Hancock said after the game. "We put a lot into last week's game against Lennox and it came back to haunt us this week.
"You can't win footy games without the ball and we didn't see much of it in the first half.
"On a positive note our side this year has been the most competitive I've played with. We never got flogged and we put every side to the sword."
For Grafton Tom Ellem was again Grafton's best on the day with hooker John King and Kyle Hancock not far behind.
In second-grade Grafton snatched a last-gasp 15-all draw against Bangalow.
Grafton's last home game of the season is against an undefeated Wollongbar next Saturday, which also coincides with Ladies Day.