Redmen scrum found wanting
IT was a case of close but no cigar for the luckless Grafton Redmen on Saturday.
After an impressive performance against Ballina last week it was the Grafton side of old that went down 14-7 to the Casino Bulls.
In what could only be described as a dour struggle, both sides were guilty of too many unforced errors in the stop-start affair.
The Redmen had chances early to skip away to a six-point lead but instead of taking the three points on offer opted for a quick tap or lineout.
Thanks to sheer weight of possession the Redmen did manage to find the chalk when front-rower Jacob Page burrowed his way over the try line. Huan Collie made no mistake with the conversion to put the home side up 7-0.
Just when the Redmen were gaining the ascendancy an injury to Casino winger Rohan Hyde caused a 30-minute stoppage in play. The big crowd on hand went silent as Hyde lay motionless on the ground with what appeared to be a neck injury.
When the game finally resumed the visitors dominated the set pieces and starved the home side of the ball.
With the light fading and the scores locked at 7-7, Casino caught the Grafton backs napping and the fullback sprinted 50 metres to score the match-winning try.
Redmen captain/coach Brad Lloyd, who was arguably best on field, was a spent force after his side spent most of the second half on the back foot.
“It was a tough game in the guts; Casino had some big boys and we seemed to be defending for most of the game,” the inspirational breakaway said after the match.
“When we had the pill we tried to move it around a bit but we really never had enough quality ball.”
When asked about his side's lack of focus in the set pieces – in particular the scrum – Lloyd was at a loss to why his tight-five struggled to provide good quality ball for his backs.
“Our scrum was definitely under pressure. It was probably a step back from last week against Ballina,” he said.
“I'm not sure what went wrong today. It may have been the muddy conditions.
“We worked hard on Thursday night. Dan Hayne and Scott Forwell came and worked with the front row.”
The Redmen will tackle Southern Cross University next week and Lloyd admitted his side needs to produce a complete performance to get the job done in the future.
“Some of the young guys need to realise in first grade you need to switch on for the full 80 minutes,” he said.