Ballina soars to 58-28 thumping of Northern United

TOUGH TACKLING: Northern United halfback Willie Hammond drives his Ballina opposite number Nick Meaney into the turf of Crozier Field in Lismore yesterday. Ballina won 58-28.
TOUGH TACKLING: Northern United halfback Willie Hammond drives his Ballina opposite number Nick Meaney into the turf of Crozier Field in Lismore yesterday. Ballina won 58-28. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

BALLINA players Dylan Montgomery and Michael Thomas had time for an early shower and some hot chips from the canteen as the Seagulls cruised to a 58-28 win over Northern United in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

The pair left the field early as the Seagulls cruised to a 34-0 lead just before half-time at Crozier Field, Lismore, yesterday.

They ate the chips on the bench before hitting the showers and still came back to the sideline with plenty of time remaining.

Thomas scored the first try of the game before his side ran in home another 10.

"We gave a couple of guys a rest and it's good to keep everyone fresh," Ballina coach Greg Barnes said.

"It wasn't really planned; it was just the way it worked out.

"We've made a few little changes and we'll be taking the same game plan into the semi-finals."

United centre Luke Simpson took matters into his own hands and finally got his team on the scoreboard just before half-time.

Front-rower Les Roberts was firing on all cylinders early in the second half as the Dirawongs fought back to 34-12.

Tries to Ballina centre Clarence Kelly and second-rower Simon Perkins extended the Seagulls' lead to 40-12 with 20 minutes remaining.

Roberts was having a real digfor the Dirawongs but needed a few more players to stand up tothe defending premiers.

Ballina winger Liam Anderson scored a brilliant try when he grubbered a kick down the sideline and regathered over the tryline.

Roberts scored a second before Dirawongs winger Thomas Randall put the ball down out wide.

Ballina second-rower Mick Sweeney scored a try to get his team past 50 points before he was sin-binned in the final minute for repeated infringements.

"The side we had there will be close to what we'll have in the semi-finals," Barnes said.

"We let a couple of tries in but it was good to get everyone out there and give a couple of blokes a rest."


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