ON A STRING: Grafton Ghosts’ recruit Jayden Connors has been outstanding for the club early this season and put a deft grubber through for Jay Olsen to score against Orara Valley.
ON A STRING: Grafton Ghosts’ recruit Jayden Connors has been outstanding for the club early this season and put a deft grubber through for Jay Olsen to score against Orara Valley. Debrah Novak

RUGBY LEAGUE: Half-back, half-magician

RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton Ghosts recruit Jayden Connors has come into his own in the opening rounds of the 2016 Group 2 season and was a standout in Saturday's 52-10 thumping of Orara Valley .

The halfback was best on ground for the Ghosts inserting himself in every set and orchestrating more than half the Ghosts tries including two of his own.

None were better than the lead up work to Adam Slater's first four-pointer when Connors scooped up a loose offload, spotted a gap through the Axemen defence and exploded into the backfield. Two miraculous offloads later including one from a falling Nick Monckton and Slater was in under the sticks.

Grafton Ghosts president and first grade team manager Joe Kinnane said he was impressed with Connors' efforts and the seamless way he has fitted into the side this year.

"He had an outstanding game against Orara," Kinnane said.

"He is good, he has been impressing since the day he arrived here. He is a class footballer."

Ghost Jayden Connors during the Group 2 Rugby league match between the Grafton Ghosts and Orara Valley Axeman at McGuren Park on Saturday, 16th April, 2016. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Ghost Jayden Connors during the Group 2 Rugby league match between the Grafton Ghosts and Orara Valley Axeman at McGuren Park on Saturday, 16th April, 2016. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

Connors has linked well with another Ghosts' recruit this season Nick Monckton with the halves showing a bond that well exceeds their time with the Grafton side.

The pairing's combination began in junior football with both players growing up in Inverell and playing for the same junior club.

"He was a couple of years younger than me but we are pretty close family friends," Nick Monckton said.

Connors brings with him a strong history of league including a year long stint with the Gold Coast Titans Holden Cup side in 2014 before he returned to the bush last year to take the Inverell Hawks to the 2015 Group 19 premiership defeating Moree Boomerangs 26-24 in the grand final.

A move for work commitments to Grafton put Connors squarely on the radar for several local clubs but it was the Ghosts who got him on board at the club.

"We knew he was a good quality footballer from the beginning," Kinnane said

"We can consider ourselves lucky to get Jayden this season.

"I know there were a few clubs chasing his signature."

GRAFTON GHOSTS 52 (Jayden Connors 2, Adam Slater 2, Dylan Collett 2, James Hughes, Jay Olsen, Nick Monckton tries; Connors 7, Ben McLennan goals) def ORARA VALLEY AXEMEN 10 (Mal Webster, Steven Walker tries; Ant Cowan goal).

>> Rebels forwards come to rescue in win over Roosters

GROUP 2 RESULTS

First Grade

Grafton Ghosts 52 def Orara Valley Axemen 10

South Grafton Rebels 26 def Nambucca Roosters 22

Coffs Harbour Comets 62 def Bellingen Dorrigo 16

Woolgoolga Seahorses 32 def Macksville Sea Eagles 24

Who will win the 2016 Group 2 Rugby League First Grade Premiership?

This poll ended on 15 August 2016.

Current Results

South Grafton Rebels

34%

Coffs Harbour Comets

10%

Nambucca Heads Roosters

3%

Grafton Ghosts

20%

Macksville Sea Eagles

4%

Sawtell Panthers

7%

Orara Valley Axemen

9%

Bellingen Magpies

3%

Woolgoolga Seahorses

5%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Reserve Grade

Grafton Ghosts 28 def Orara Valley Axemen 10

South Grafton Rebels 48 def Nambucca Roosters 12

Coffs Harbour Comets 46 def Bellingen Dorrigo 18

Macksville Sea Eagles 40 def Woolgoolga Seahorses 32

Under 18s

Nambucca Roosters 28 def South Grafton Rebels 10

Macksville Sea Eagles 20 def Woolgoolga Seahorses 6



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