Seagulls on edge of history-making back-to-back premiership
BALLINA is on the verge of creating club history with the chance to win back-to-back premierships for the first time in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
The Seagulls are the first team through to the grand final after a 27-12 win over Kyogle in the major semi-final on Sunday.
History shows the team that hosts the grand final usually goes on to win. Only four first grade teams have managed to win a grand final away from home in the last 34 years.
However, Ballina was the last team to lose one at home against Mullumbimby in 2007.
They will face either Byron Bay or Kyogle after the preliminary final is played at Kyogle on Sunday.
In what could be a scary proposition for both those sides is the fact Ballina had two questionable sin-bins and numerous calls go against them but still managed to beat an in-form Kyogle. Front-rower Dylan Montgomery proved almost impossible to stop at times and bagged a try-scoring double.
"We had about four tries disallowed and still managed to control the game pretty well," Ballina coach Greg Barnes said.
"There was a lot of crowd support on Sunday and you definitely want to play the grand final at home."
The Seagulls have already ticked plenty of boxes this season
They won the minor premiership for the first time in 21 years off the back of breaking a 20-year premiership drought in 2013.
"It's been hard work this year and a lot more challenging," Barnes said.
"Every team wants to beat the defending premiers." Murwillumbah were eliminated from the semi-finals in straight sets after they beaten 32-30 against Byron Bay in the minor semi-final on Saturday.
The Mustangs were leading the competition for most of the season and looked on track for a fourth consecutive grand final appearance.
However their lower grades have moved into the grand final with reserve grade winning 30-16 against Casino and under-18s beating Marist Brothers 30-24 on Sunday.
This weekend at New Park, Kyogle:
- Kyogle v Byron Bay, first grade
- Kyogle v Casino, reserve grade
- Kyogle v Byron Bay, under-18s