King returns and Cougars win, but Robinson seals the deal
IT TOOK an intercept try from Casino centre Anthony Robinson to seal a 46-34 win over Ballina in a thrilling Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clash.
Robinson latched onto the ball and ran 80m in the final minute of play at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino yesterday.
It was only fitting that Casino beat the defending premiers in the same game that club junior and retired NRL player Matt King returned to play.
King played a full game at centre but it was the players around him that starred.
Robinson bagged a try-scoring double as did winger Kevin Torrens.
Five-eighth Roy Bell was solid and second-rower Todd Johnson was a handful.
"This is enormous for us," proud Cougars coach Troy McLean said.
"Ballina are going to give it everything they've got and they did right up to that last intercept.
"Kingy just said to the boys in the shed then what a big effort it was from the entire team.
"We've come a long way as a club in 18 months and we're really happy."
Ballina took an early 12-0 lead before Robinson came into his own and caused havoc down the right edge.
He scored the first try for the home side and set up two others as the Cougars ran in five unanswered tries to lead 28-12 at half-time.
Ballina responded with three consecutive tries to claw back to 28-26.
Five-eighth Alwyn Roberts was dangerous every time he touched the ball as was hooker Andrew Battese.
A sneaky try to Casino hooker Chad Taylor gave the Cougars some space as they extended the lead to eight.
King had a couple of classy touches towards the end and helped put a rampaging Johnson into space as he went in under the cross-bar.
Corey Torrens had a great day with the boot nailing seven conversions while the usually pin-point Battese struggled to find his aim for Ballina.
"We really hung in well in at the end there," McLean said.
"The biggest thing is making these boys believe they can do it and that we can knock over any side in the competition on our day."
More on this weekend's NRRRL action - see page 25.