Untidy Ghosts fail to slay Giants
THE Grafton Ghosts produced a second half display best forgotten to slump to a 30-22 defeat at the hands of the Mullumbimby Giants in their round two Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League match at Les Donnelly Field, Mullumbimby on Saturday.
Having battled to a 12-all halftime scoreline, the Ghosts were found wanting in the last 40 minutes as the Giants grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck
Ghosts first grade coach Col Speed said the 'plan went out the window' as poor completion rates and ill-discipline let a winnable game slip away.
“I was happy with our display, against a good side, in the first half,” Speed said.
“In the second half we were our own worst enemy.
“Having nearly 20 points put against us in the second half is not up to our usual standard.”
The Ghosts' woes were building from the beginning when Adam Elliott was ruled out of the clash and replaced with benched fullback Khan Williams.
Elliott, along with the injured Shaun Davison, is a vital component in 'cleaning up the middle' of the Ghosts' defence, an area which concerned Speed against the Giants.
“I thought we were a little soft in the middle of our defence at times,” he said.
However the pre-match interruption was soon forgotten as the Ghosts broke away to a 6-0 lead before the Giants hit back with two tries.
Josh Donohoe crossed for the Ghosts' second four-pointer and with the halftime siren blaring, the game was finely balanced.
The second half began with another early try, but this time it was to the hosts and for the rest of the match, the Ghost were playing catch-up.
Williams did not help the cause when he was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes, but the Ghosts rallied in his absence.
“We dug deep while Khan was in the bin,” Speed said.
“We scored a try while he was in there ... so that was a positive.”
However, the final minutes of the match did little to swing the momentum back to the Ghosts, with the squad unable to reel in the eight-point deficit.
Speed said his team was looking forward to getting back onto the training paddock to 'work on a number of areas' before next week's clash against Kyogle.
“We gave away too many penalties ... we weren't getting the 50-50s,” he said.
“We gave away too much possession and that is something we have to work on.
“I didn't expect us to fire straight away, we have new players, new combinations.”
Speed was also unhappy with the squad's preparation, with a number of Ghosts players attending a North Coast representative training camp at Evans Head on Friday, the night before the game.
“I question the representative schedule ... there was a band playing at their (the players') hotel until 2am,” he said.
“But they're just excuses and it doesn't help our cause.”
Speed said he was happy with the squad overall, but singled out Aaron Taylor, captain Ryan Farrell and player of the match Marty Haynes for special mention.
Meanwhile, the Ghosts under-18s continued their good early season form with a 14-10 win over Mullumbimby, while the Ghosts reserves suffered a 28-16 loss.
MULLUMBIMBY GIANTS 30 (Andrew Moroney 2, Joel Christie 2, Scott Hogan, Dwayne Moseley tries; Dwayne Mosley 2, Jay Hansen conversions) def
GRAFTON GHOSTS 22 (Liam Bland, Josh Donohoe, Dan Shipman, Aaron Taylor tries; Aaron Taylor three conversions).
MULLUMBIMBY 28 def
GRAFTON 14 def MULLUMBIMBY 10