Seagulls put pressure on in NRRRL
BALLINA and Byron Bay are the form teams after the first three rounds in Ladbrokes Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
Ballina won its third straight game over Mullumbimby 32-6 while Byron Bay beat defending premiers Tweed Coast 18-12 on Saturday night.
Seagulls halfback Jess Perry slipped past Mullumbimby defenders for the first try before second-rowers Anthony Colman and Jack Durhiem went over.
It gave Ballina an 18-0 lead at half-time before Giants winger Brett Kelly-Wirth scored a brilliant try just after the break to reduce the margin to 18-6.
The Seagulls never gave them a sniff from there with tries to hooker Zac Beecher and front-rower Nick Ritter while winger Rhys Riches finished the game with a double.
The Red Devils are also on six points after a first round bye having recorded wins against Evans Head and Tweed Coast.
Tweed Coast only lost two games last season on the way to the premiership while Byron Bay finished second last.
"I'm lost for words with our effort and it just shows our mentality since the pre-season,” Byron Bay captain-coach Todd Carney said.
"Our two front-rowers played a full 80 minutes against the best team in the competition.
"Defence has really been a strong point; if we're to go anywhere this season we need to keep tackling like that.”
In other games, the Casino Cougars returned to the winners' list with a solid 28-4 win over the Marist Brothers Rams at Queen Elizabeth Park on Sunday.
Brothers gave them something to think about early scoring the opening try before Casino winger Denzel Dangerfield got the Cougars on the board.
Another quick try to fullback David Jacky and a further penalty goal saw the Cougars lead 12-4 at the break.
The Cougars moved up a gear with another try to Dangerfield and a double to second-rower Theo Hippi in the second half.
Hippi was a stand-out along with lock Hayden Pratt and winger Noah King.
Elsewhere, Northern United won its second straight game 40-18 over Evans Head at Crozier Field, Lismore on Saturday.
United has looked a lot better in the last fortnight with the return of centre Clarence Kelly, halfback Evan Hickling and second-rower Justin Shillingsworth.
Cudgen looks the weaker of the Tweed teams this season following back-to-back losses after going down 26-6 against Murwillumbah on Sunday.
There are not games this weekend with the competition to resume after Easter.