Mud, blood and skin in the game
THERE was plenty of mud, a bit of blood and a huge amount of talent leaping, kicking, marking, running, and it must be said, slithering on the ground when the Lismore Swans clashed with the Ballina Bombers on Saturday at Oakes Oval.
An already wet ground saw some spectacular manouveres as players, tested by slippery conditions, adopted cross-code tactics with plays more often seen in soccer, league and union in their attempts to hold the ball and convert.
By the final quarter, increasing rain caused a goal umpire to hold an umbrella, as the Swans won 6.15.51 over Ballina’s 1.9.15, thanks in part of Will Alexander booting three goals.
Reserves playing coach Tim Whalan said he was proud of the squad’s efforts, which put them in a respectable sixth place on the reserves ladder.
“With Ballina a few players short, Lismore dropped to 16 on the ground,” he said.
“My first win as coach, they really played well.”
Ballina’s reserve captain Sam Hunt was gracious in defeat.
“All credit for Lismore, we did not get over this time,” Hunt said.
When the senior men’s siren sounded, it was clear that both teams were out to make their mark after both lost their previous matches.
New signing and former national union and league player Shannon Walker showed his cross-code background with some gutsy moves.
At halftime coach Joey Mitchell told his players who hail from across the country, they needed to lift another gear.
He said accurate kicking is the path to glory.
“This game is played below the knees,” he said.
Despite courageous play across the team including three goals from Andrew Baker, Lismore lost 6.9.45 to Ballina’s 8.5.53.
Mitchell said the team is improving.
“If you look at our losing margins they are narrowing,” he said.
“Every game you play you have to be better than you were.”
Senior umpire Ben Johnson, 43, had his sons Alastair 16, and Riley 14, also on the whistle.
“It was a tough and physical game,” Johnson said.
“You could see the passion in both sides.”
In the QFAW Northern Rivers Division, the Ballina Women’s team showed their finesse when they prevented the Swans from scoring to win with a crushing 13.11.89.
Meanwhile, Byron Bay maintained their curve with a win 2.3.27 over Tweed Coast 2.3.15.
2020 QFA Division 2 South