Danny Wicks explodes
FORMER Newcastle Knight Danny Wicks attempts to stay under the radar came to an abrupt end yesterday as the fiery front-row forward attracted plenty of attention from the Northern United players in the Ghosts 42-24 win at Frank McGuren Park.
Wicks copped plenty of cheap shots and niggles from the Dirawongs who appeared to be more focused on baiting the big forward then playing footy.
Wicks continually took exception to the heavy-handed tactics and along with a United player spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for fighting.
The controversial forward did however have the last laugh scoring two tries in a game marred by foul play and stoppages.
Ghosts coach Col Speed-although happy to come away with the points-appeared frustrated with the lack of control by the referee and touch judges.
“The bloke in the middle has to control the game a bit better,” Speed said.
The Ghosts players did well to hold their composure but at times were guilty of back-chatting and ill-discipline which has crept into their game in recent matches. Opposition sides seem to think the only way to defeat the competition favourites is by using over-aggressive tactics.
After the match Speed was quick to point out his side will not be intimidated this season and stand up to any side who wishes to employ dirty tactics.
“I don’t think our side are ill-disciplined, it’s a case of you have to stand your ground...enough is enough,” Speed said after the match.
“I’m glad my guys did stand up for themselves. Some people reckon it’s been a weakness of ours in past seasons but I’m happy we’ve got some fire in our side.”
Northern United threw everything at the home side applying the blow torch to the Ghosts defence out wide and went to the break trailing 26-16.
But when Ghosts centre Khan Williams scored in the corner early in the second half it was a question of by how many. However just as the contest threatened to become a rout the Dirawongs sprung to life with two tries out wide.
Ghosts captain and halfback Ryan Farrell who never stopped barking at his team all game put the game beyond doubt when he threaded a grubber-kick through the Dirawongs defence for a flying Daniel Lollback to score.
When they did decide to play footy Northern United were scintillating out wide with speedster David Briggs Junior slicing though the Ghosts defence time after time. Unfortunately Briggs met his match in the speed department through Ghosts fullback Anthony Don who saved the day with brilliant cover-defence.
Don had an indifferent day and received several swinging arms from the United players which at times escaped the notice of the referees and touch judges.
The Ghosts Pommy import Dave Emmott had his finest match of the season and was arguably the best player on the field. Emmott played himself to a stand still in a five-star performance with team-mates Grant Stevens and hooker Rhys Walters who was dangerous out of dummy half not far behind.
“Dave made a couple of small errors in attack but he is probably reaping the rewards of his pre-season training...he’s put in a lot of hard work,” Speed said.
Speed admitted Northern United were a side capable of upsetting any side in the competition but was relieved with the win under trying circumstances.
“They are a quality side and have got plenty of points in them...speed is certainly their asset.”
The Ghosts are on the road next week to Mullumbimby who went down to Ballina 34-4.
Ghosts 42 (D Lollback 2, D Wicks 2, C Galloway 2, K Williams, R Walters, D Dickson tries. C Galloway 3 conversions) d Northern United 24 (G Brown, D Briggs, S Roberts, B Robinson, F Pitt tries. R Bell 2 conversions)
Ghosts 30 (A Landcaster 2, C Adamson, S Hartmann, T Burnell D Phillipson tries. C Adamson 3 conversions) drew Northern United 30 (T Binge 2, V Williams, D Bird, J Binge tries. Luke Simpson 5 conversions)
Ghosts 26 (J Frame 3, C Elliott, J Lennon tries. J Lennon 3 conversions) d Northern United 10 ( J Green, C Cubby tries. D King 1 conversion)