NORTH’S BIG UP­SET HELPS CRUSH­ERS TAKE TOP SPOT

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMPSON

HERBERT River has grabbed out­right lead of the Townsville and Dis­tricts Rugby League lad­der af­ter Norths pro­duced a 10- 8 win over Bur­dekin in Ayr on Satur­day.

The win ranks as one of the year’s big­gest up­sets in lo­cal league, putting Norths in­side the top four and another step closer to play­ing fi­nals football in five weeks time.

Bur­dekin on the other hand re­lin­quished its spot in equal first with Herbert River, but four rounds of reg­u­lar sea­son football re­main for the Roost­ers to fight for a mi­nor premier­ship.

Tries to Richard Martin and Tay­lor Welch were enough to get Norths over the line in what was a hard- hit­ting and un­pre­dictable game, with both Bur­dekin and Norths hav­ing chances to seal a win in the sec­ond half.

“It was by far the best win for the club this year,” Norths coach Jason Cook said.

“We’ve got our tails up now and it was good for us to beat the top team, and just the way we grinded it out was the most pleas­ing thing.

“It was a fe­ro­cious game of football and both sides de­fen­sively were very strong on the night, and we were just tear­ing into each other. It was one of those games that was great for a spec­ta­tor to watch, but ter­ri­ble for a coach.”

Bur­dekin led 8- 4 at the break, but Welch soared high for Norths to grab a high ball and ground what turned out to be the match­win­ner about half an hour be­fore full- time.

Herbert River and Char­ters Tow­ers were both miss­ing play­ers in Satur­day’s other game at Bill Lewis Oval, which went the Crush­ers’ way 34- 16.

Herbert River have now won their last two games since los­ing to Bur­dekin in Round 14, but the go­ing has been far tougher for Char­ters Tow­ers, who have not scored a win from their last seven matches.

Char­ters Tow­ers coach Jeff Bur­ton said there was still hope among the Min­ers that sea­son 2015 was not over.

“We’re de­pleted at the mo­ment in­jury- wise, but we made some re­ally good ef­forts. It’s just that at times we were our own worst en­e­mies and the score re­ally didn’t re­flect the fight our blokes put up,” he said.

“But that’s not tak­ing any­thing away from Herbert River. They had a good num­ber of blokes away at a wed­ding and a lot of guys stood up for them. We’re not giv­ing the ghost up yet and we’re still play­ing with plenty of spirit.”

Cen­trals took another step to­wards fi­nals football with a 30- 16 over Univer­sity at JCU in yesterday’s game.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

HARD HIT: Univer­sity’s Peter Utromu runs into Cen­tral's Damien Pryor and Kimi He­mopo.

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