Ballina makes history with back-to-back premiership win
BALLINA has won back-to-back premierships for the first time after a 17-6 win against Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League grand final yesterday.
It started and finished with Ballina five-eighth Andrew Battese who produced one of his best performances of the season at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.
The Seagulls took a 17-6 lead into halftime and gave Byron Bay nothing as the two teams ripped into each other in the second half.
The game had to be stopped and was held up for five minutes as a brawl broke out in the crowd in the dying minutes.
Police officers sorted the issue as the Ballina faithful rushed the field minutes later for the celebrations.
"We were the most dominant team all year and we really deserve this," Ballina coach Greg Barnes said.
"We stopped everything that came at us in defence and our game plan worked."
"This all started three years ago and we've got 17 local juniors in the team which makes it really special."
Byron Bay was first to score after winger Bill King pounced on a perfectly timed kick out wide.
Battese made his intentions clear early when he snapped a penalty kick at goal minutes later.
Brothers Brett and Clarence Kelly proved a handful down the left edge and combined for Ballina's first try.
Battese kicked another penalty goal before winger Liam Anderson scored down the same side.
Another penalty goal from Battese followed by a field goal was all the home side needed for the win.
The Red Devils were courageous in defeat with prop Chris Coleman and second-rower Cale Rowston leading the way.
"The little things didn't click for us today and we gave them too much start," Byron Bay captain-coach Ryan O'Connell said.
"Ballina are a physical team and I think we matched them there but they were the better team on the day."
It was the usual suspects for Ballina with front-rower Dylan Montgomery, second-rower Simon Perkins, lock Kane Montgomery and Battese the standouts.
Earlier, Casino took out reserve grade 21-20 against Murwillumbah in golden point extra-time.
Under-18s was also memorable with Kyogle winning 17-16 in golden point extra time against Murwillumbah.
More on Ballina and the lower grades in The Northern Star tomorrow
BALLINA 17 (C Kelly, L Anderson tries; A Battese 4 goals; field goal) d
BYRON BAY 6 (B King try; B Goldsmith goal)