Redmen running hot in charge to FNCRU finals
THE RETURN of representative flyhalf Nathan McPherson and overflowing numbers helped the Grafton Redmen to a memorable Sponsor's Day victory on Saturday.
Taking on Far North Coast Rugby Union easybeats Southern Cross University, the Redmen ran in 14 tries to record an 86-nil win.
What made co-coach Peter Tonkin happier with the win was their approach to the fixture, which saw the ruthless Redmen clinically apply their gameplan from start to finish.
"They needed to be clinical and stick to their structure and that's what they did," Tonkin said.
"It could easily have turned into a game of touch footy out there but credit to them they stuck to the plan.
"You have to admire that they keep showing up. Things like this go in cycles and if they keep at it they will come good too."
The return of McPherson could not have been timed any better as the Redmen face a run home that, if results fall their way, could end up at the finals.
It is unlikely though, as the club is nine points behind fourth-placed Ballina and need to overcome the side Tonkin labels as the most dangerous in the competition.
But there are a few easier games in amongst the run, and if they can win all four games could be a dark horse.
"Finally getting our five-eighth back from rep commitments we looked the real deal," Tonkin said.
"Nathan's extra class allowed us to play really well.
"Our defence has been great all year and that's one of the biggest positives we've had.
"We could beat anyone on our day, and opposition teams know they're in for a rough day when they take us on.
"The game against Ballina is our toughest but I think we can win a few of these games and give it a shake."
The club is in one of its strongest positions so late in the season, with all four grades at least a rough chance of qualifying.
The President's Cup and under-18s sides are just about guaranteed a spot, while reserve grade are just four points shy of qualifying for the finals.