Rhinos and Mustangs draw
THE 34-34 scoreline was probably a good indication of the game between Grafton Rhinos and Murwillumbah who played off for the minor placing’s of the Charity Shield.
The game was a tale of two halves with the Mustangs dominating the first half before a revitalised Rhinos stormed home in the second stanza to snatch a draw.
Rhinos captain Xavier Sullivan gambled in the first half by keeping his main strike weapons on the bench and it was not until he decided to bring himself and Todd Cameron into the game when things started to happen.
Cameron went about destroying the Mustangs defence with incisive darts down the middle at times bone-crunching defence.
The Rhinos lacked direction early on but once their big name players took the field they were quickly back in the contest.
At one stage the Rhinos defence was like Swiss cheese as the Mustangs shot out to an early 18-0 lead.
Problems in reading defence was evident out wide for the Rhinos as Murwillumbah’s massive centres found space through accurate passing from their halves.
Rhinos’ two Fijian signings - Joe Ravueta and Neori Kuramalawa - were devastating out wide slicing through the Mustangs defence with power and speed.
Their ability to read each others game is proving to be a lethal combination.
Ravueta scored a magical try from 20 metres inside his own half.
After receiving the ball on the fly the Fijian speedster beat at least six would-be defenders to score under the posts.
Murwillumbah had a chance to win the game after the full-time whistle but their goal-kicker pushed the conversion attempt wide of the uprights.
After the game Rhinos coach Sullivan said he was disappointed with the result but was pleased to see positive signs for the coming season.
“I was a bit disappointed across the board and thought we lacked direction around the park. Out of the 80 minutes we probably only played good football for 15,” he said.
“I think once everyone is available we can certainly push the other sides.”
The Rhinos next game is against the Lower Clarence Magpies next Saturday at Yamba Oval to open the NRRRL season.
The match was originally scheduled for round 15 but has been moved forward to this time slot.
A big crowd is expected for the contest.