REDMEN REDEMPTION: Grafton finish season on a high
MCKIMMS Grafton Redmen unleashed a 28-point second-half onslaught against Lismore City to claim a 47-7 win at the Hay Street Rugby Fields on Saturday.
The first half was punctuated by far too many unforced errors from both sides. In fact, the game became so ugly it should have had a paper bag pulled over it.
When things did settle down, Grafton’s forward pack took control on the back of a sublime kicking game by Grafton’s inspirational skipper and fullback Kyle Hancock.
Boom centre Jake Martin produced his best game of the season bagging a double while Redmen number-eight Ed McGrath created one of the moments of the match.
From Grafton’s side of halfway, the rangy back-rower left several Lismore defenders grasping at thin air on his way to the tryline and finished it off with his trademark swan dive.
Martin also provided plenty of clips for the highlight reel with two spectacular tries and damaging ball running throughout.
Grafton barely raised a sweat in the second stanza as the floodgates opened up against a tiring and error-riddled Lismore side.
Redmen co-coach Brett Graham admits he was a relieved man after the game.
“I’m very happy and relieved with the result. They (Lismore) put pressure on us early and we scrambled in defence and held them out,” Graham said.
“I thought our structure was generally good throughout the game but we probably missed a few more scoring opportunities in the second half.
“Our forwards definitely set the platform and I thought Robbie Hill and James Hughes were outstanding.
“Kyle’s kicking and his ability to read the game at crucial moments also proved a big difference between the two sides.”
When asked about McGrath’s 50m effort to score under the posts, Graham was full of praise for his star forward.
“Ed has an uncanny ability to score long range tries.” Graham said.
“It’s getting harder for him as opposition sides know how dangerous he can be so they target him in defence.
“They put two or three players on him and he still manages to break tackles.”
It was Grafton’s second win of the season with all three Far North Coast foundation clubs (Grafton, Lismore and Casino) sitting in the bottom half of the table.
For Graham, the truncated competition had its challenges.
“We only got to play seven games and leading up to the competition training restrictions due to COVID made it difficult,” he said.
“But on a positive note there were some good signs, especially the new faces at training. If we can hang on to a lot of those players it will go along way for a successful season next year.”
GRAFTON (Jake Martin 2, James Hughes, Jack Anderson, Ethan Myer-Creighton, Kyle Hancock, Ed McGrath tries, Hancock 6 conversions)
Grafton second grade side were at their attacking best with an entertaining 55-26 win over Lismore.