Wollongbar-Alstonville five-eighth Ben Damen scores one of his two tries against Grafton in Far North Coast rugby union at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, on Saturday.
Wollongbar-Alstonville five-eighth Ben Damen scores one of his two tries against Grafton in Far North Coast rugby union at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, on Saturday. Vicki Kerry

Bulls crack their first win in FNC rugby

CASINO celebrated its first win of the season when it ran away with a 35-22 victory over Byron Bay in Far North Coast rugby union at the Byron Bay Recreation Ground.

The Bulls piled on the points in the second half on Saturday with hooker Ben Collison and No8 Marcus Cusack leading the way after they trailed 12-7 at half-time.

"It's a big step in the right direction for us and it was all due to the desire they had in defence,” Casino coach Doug Murray said.

"I'm very proud of the effort and they've been working hard together for a few seasons now.

"Byron Bay looked a bit unfit in the forwards and it appeared that we had them knocked up by the end of the first half.

"We had the wind in the second half and we were able to pin them down and force a few errors.”

Front-rower Scott Kenny, centre Carl Tahatu and Collison all scored tries for Casino in the second half.

They were also awarded a penalty try by the referee following a high tackle.

Murray was impressed by the maturity of his young team and hopes they continue to build.

"Marcus Cusack had a great game; he hits blokes and they drop on the spot,” Murray said.

"They adapted well.

"Ben Collison changed a few things with our line-out during the game and he's played enough rugby to do that now.

"A big thing for us is we're close to filling our second grade after it looked like we might not have been able to at the start of the season.”

In other games on Saturday:

Wollongbar-Alstonville thump- ed Grafton 68-7 at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.

The Pioneers were dominant from the start, taking a 35-7 lead into the break, before scoring another five tries in the second half.

Despite losing some key players, Grafton will be stunned by the result.

The Redmen won the minor prem- iership and reached the preliminary final in the Mid North Coast competition last season.

Lennox Head were made to work for a 29-18 win over Southern Cross University at Maurie Ryan Oval, East Lismore.

The Trojans were behind 13-7 at half-time before stepping up a gear in the second half.

Ballina beat Lismore City 53-20 at Quays Reserve, Ballina, after leading 17-0 at half-time.

Casuarina Beach remains undefeated after crushing Bangalow 57-5 on the Tweed Coast.


Casino 35 (Ben Collison, Scott Kenny, Nick Armstrong, Carl Tahatu tries; penalty try; Harrison Cusack 4 conversions) d Byron Bay 22 (Andrew Teuma, Cooper Lau, Jascha Saeck, Romey Vassell tries; Jascha Saeck conversion). Half-time: Byron Bay 12-7.

Wollongbar-Alstonville 68 (Sam Kerry 2, Ben Damen 2, Josh Damen 2, Bill Johnston 2, James Vidler, Jaiden McDonald tries; Sam Kerry 9 conversions) d Grafton 7 (Tom Tanner try; Adam Smidt conversion). Half-time: 35-7.

Lennox Head 29 (Callum S Jones 2, Jack Norman, Abe Goldsmith, Toby Creagh tries; Hugo Marks 4 conversions) d Southern Cross University 18 (Kirk Taylor-Brown, Jacob Creagh, Matt Murray tries; Will Hawkins penalty goal). Half-time: SCU 13-7.

Ballina 53 (Terry Ferguson 2, Luke Simpson 2, Anthony Lolohea, Tom Watson, Isaac Pratten, Grant Knight, Romulo Leweniqila tries; Terry Ferguson 4 conversions) d Lismore 20 (Brenden Williams, James Grubb tries; Andrew Sky 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals). Half-time: Ballina 17-0.

Casuarina Beach 57 (Michael Coates 2, Kai George, Elisio Tagidrau, Chris Luxton, Mitch Planten, Seb Lamilla, Corey Morris, Jaden Wakefield tries; Kai George 5, Josh Harman conversions) d Bangalow 5 (Alex Wadsworth try). Half-time: 31-0.

Pointscore: Wollongbar 15, Lennox Head 15, Casuarina 14, Ballina 10, Grafton 5, Byron Bay 5, Casino 5, Bangalow 4, SCU 1, Lismore 0.

Next round on April 27: Bangalow v Byron Bay, SCU v Casuarina Beach, Casino v Wollongbar- Alstonville, Grafton v Lismore, Lennox Head v Ballina.

Reserve grade: Mullumbimby 38 d Casuarina 5, Wollongbar 52 d Grafton 7, Ballina 89 d Lismore 5, Lennox Head 30 d SCU 0.

Women's sevens: Wollongbar 75 d Grafton 0, Casino 54 d Byron Bay 20, Evans River 46 d SCU 0, Yamba 30 d Casuarina 0.

Next round on April 27: Yamba v Byron Bay, SCU v Casuarina, Casino v Wollongbar, Ballina v Evans River.

President's Cup: Iluka 43 d Grafton 7, Yamba 17 d Tenterfield 15, Evans River 48 d Kyogle 0.

Next round on April 27: Grafton v Kyogle, Ballina v Evans River, Tenterfield v Iluka.