Redmen no match for rampaging Seahorses
RUGBY UNION: Sometimes you just have to sit back and admire the show.
The Ballina Seahorses relentless race towards the Coopers Far North Coast rugby summit continued at the Hay Street Rugby Fields on Saturday with an entertaining 54-19 win against a shell-shocked McKimms Grafton Redmen.
The Seahorses backline ran riot in the first half against what only can be described as "turn-style" defence.
The interval couldn't come soon enough for Grafton who trailed 40-0 at the break.
Grafton let themselves down in the fundamentals, but it was their first up missed tackles, which gifted the opposition field position and points.
Ballina centre's Samisoi Yamai and Ant Lolohea proved a real handful for the Redmen defence. Lolohea in particular caused havoc with his huge frame leaving a trail of defenders in his wake.
To quote the late rugby commentator Bill McLaren, "it's like trying to tackle a snooker table".
Redmen co-coach Brett Graham, although disappointed with the result, was honest in his appraisal after the game.
"Ballina are a bloody good side and are very skilful right across the paddock," he said.
"They have a solid scrum and their backs have plenty of size, skill and speed.
"The boys tried hard, but again far too many missed tackles proved the difference on the day."
Grafton did however manage to salvage some pride after the break with tries to Wirri Boland, Reilly Lawrence-King and Damon Kirby.
Lawrence-King came on late in the game and immediately made an impact finishing off a scintillating backline move 50-metres out which had the Redmen supporters on their feet.
"We were a lot better side in the second half. I think we actually scored three tries to their one," Graham said.
"We decided to play some decent rugby and looked good especially when we spread the ball.
"But again you can't give away a start like we did today."
The game was overshadowed by an unsavoury incident late in the first half when teams almost came to blows. The referee handed out two yellow cards and a red card to a Ballina player for an alleged eye gouge.
Grafton Southside Pharmacy second grade side also went down to Ballina 46-19.
The Redmen are at home next Saturday against Lismore in the final round of the competition.