Top five highs and lows in NRRRL grand fi­nals

Tweed Daily News - - SPORT -

SPORTS editor Mitchell Craig ranks the best North­ern Rivers Re­gional Rugby League grand fi­nals of the past decade (2010-2019) in order.

1. 2013, Bal­lina Seag­ulls d Mur­willum­bah Mus­tangs 30-24 at Kings­ford Smith Park, Bal­lina

A ca­pac­ity crowd crammed in to see a thriller when Bal­lina over­came the de­fend­ing pre­miers Mur­willum­bah to break a 20-year premier­ship drought.

The fairy­tale looked in dan­ger early when they were down 12-0 in the first half be­fore teenage winger Brian Kelly sealed the win with a try in the 71st minute.

The Seag­ulls had one of their strong­est teams that sea­son, with props Dy­lan Mont­gomery and Greg Ryan lead­ing the way.

2. 2012, Mur­willum­bah Mus­tangs d Grafton Ghosts 27-26 at Stan Ser­combe Oval, Mur­willum­bah

A penalty goal in the 79th minute to for­mer NRL winger and home­town prod­uct Luke Covell gave the Mus­tangs the premier­ship in a nail­biter.

Mur­willum­bah had a well­bal­anced team in 2012 and sent veteran prop Lionel Fos­ter out as a win­ner.

Its games against Grafton were al­ways grip­ping con­tests be­tween 2011-2013 and the Mus­tangs were well coached by Troy Mclean, while the Ghosts had Col Speed at the helm.

3. 2017, Bal­lina Seag­ulls d Cud­gen Hor­nets 32-24 at Kings­ford Smith Park, Bal­lina

Bal­lina had to dig deep for this one de­spite Cud­gen play­ing most of the game with 12 men after lock An­thony Flo­res was sent off for a spear tackle in the open­ing min­utes.

The Hor­nets jumped out to 20-8 lead at one point, off the back of a de­ter­mined ef­fort from front-rower Caleb Ziebell who was the best on ground in a los­ing ef­fort.

Bal­lina turned to its big guns in five-eighth Alex

Grant, full­back Oliver Re­gan and sec­ond-rower Justin Shillingsw­orth, who steered them home in the sec­ond half.

4. 2016, Mur­willum­bah Mus­tangs d Cud­gen Hor­nets 16-14 at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff

Plenty of emo­tion in the build-up, with the win com­ing just one week after Mus­tangs sec­ond-rower Grant Cook died after he col­lapsed on the side­line in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

Cud­gen were the team to beat all sea­son as the Mus­tangs de­fended their way to a mem­o­rable vic­tory.

Mur­willum­bah full­back Toby Mcin­tosh played the whole game with a busted knee after he was nailed by an op­po­si­tion front-rower in the open­ing kick-off.

5. 2018, Tweed Coast Raiders d Bal­lina Seag­ulls 24-4 at Kings­ford Smith Park, Bal­lina

First premier­ship for Tweed Coast and would have rated higher if it wasn’t such a one-sided con­test.

The Raiders blew peren­nial favourites Bal­lina off the park and it never quite clicked on the day for the Seag­ulls.

For­mer NRL front-rower Brent Kite coached Tweed Coast, who boasted a big forward pack, while the likes of hooker Dan Wil­loughby and half­back Tahne Robin­son steered the ship.

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