The spirit fighting on
THE GRAFTON Ghosts will have to turn recent history on its head if they want to make the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League grand final.
Grafton's premier rugby league team will face off against arch rivals Murwillumbah Mustangs tomorrow, with the winners going through to face Ballina Seagulls in the big dance.
The Ghosts' last success against Murwillumbah came in the 2011 grand final, when they tamed the Mustangs 10-6.
It has been all Murwillumbah ever since, with this year's 24-24 draw the closest the Ghosts have come to winning.
But Ghosts captain-coach Ryan Farrell said his team would not be looking at the history books, instead focusing on continuing last week's hot form.
"We haven't done that for a long time but we'll have to defend even better this week," Farrell said.
"Everyone pulled up well afterwards but there's still just the niggly injuries around.
"No Sunday morning fitness tests so that's a bonus."
Murwillumbah were pumped 36-6 by the Seagulls in front of their home fans last week, but that will not make them any easier to beat.
Farrell talked up the Mustangs side, before admitting the Ghosts should have beaten them earlier this year.
"The Mustangs play for 80 minutes and that's probably what got them over the line last time," Farrell said.
"We probably should've won that game.
"They're a good team across the park, though. They have Luke Covell back in the back row and five-eighth Damian Quinn has been brilliant at directing play."
If the Ghosts want to win, the mission is simple: beat the Mustangs up the middle and have the outside men finish the job.
Winger Joel Moss will be counted on to add to his 29 tries of the year, while fellow winger Dan Lollback's recent form should bolster their attack.
Up the middle it has been all about Neori Kurimalawai, the front-rower who started the season in reserve grade and is now rated the best in the Ghosts pack.
"Neori's been awesome all year and has forced his way into the starting line-up," Farrell said.
"He's been good coming off the bench as an impact player as he lifts everyone when he's out there. He's probably been our best all year.
"Not bad for a bloke nudging 50 years old."