Our year in rugby league: Seagulls fly higher than ever
BALLINA created club history by going back-to-back for the first time when they won the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League grand final this year.
Casino and Kyogle had big seasons, making the semi-finals for the first time in a number of years.
Six Northern Rivers players were selected for the NSW Country Bulls after standout performances in the second-tier NSW Country Championships.
Our year in league:
- Byron Bay
- Marist Brothers
- Northern United
- Lower Clarence
- The NRRRL Team of the Year
There were 10 teams in the NRRRL this season with Byron Bay and Murwillumbah also making the semi-finals.
Marist Brothers, Northern United, Mullumbimby, Evans Head and Lower Clarence finished outside the top five.
THE Seagulls were always going to be competition favourites when they maintained most of their 2013 premiership team.
They had eight players in the Northern Rivers representative team and another four play for NSW Country this year.
THE Red Devils came good at the right end of the season to make their first grand final since 2008.
CONFIDENCE was high at Kyogle this year and they proved they could beat anyone on their day with wins over Ballina and Murwillumbah.
They finished the competition rounds third and hosted the preliminary final at New Park.
THE Mustangs were sitting nicely mid-season and looked on course for a fourth consecutive grand final appearance.
However, a loss in the last round saw them miss out on the minor premiership and then they were knocked out of the semi-finals in straight sets, beaten by Kyogle and Byron Bay at home.
RECRUITED well and had one of the best backlines in the competition in 2014.
There was plenty of excitement at the Cougars when club junior Matt King returned to play twice during the season after a decorated career in the NRL and English Super League.
MISSED the semi-finals for the first time since 2011 and were well behind the fifth-placed Casino Cougars by12 competition points.
The Rams lacked speed out wide and experience in the forwards.
HAD a tough year rebuilding after the likes of Roy Bell, Anthony Robinson, Evan Hickling and Corey Torrens defected to Casino.
Injuries to key players affected the make-up of the squad with veteran Don Walker turning back the clock with some gutsy performances.
THE Giants probably deserved to finish higher than they did as they hung in there with the top sides most weeks.
They just lacked that bit of extra spark needed in the backline to trouble the better teams.
Dan Woods, Grant Cook, Jacob Wood and Josh Castellano were the standouts.
THE Bombers were another team that could have won a couple more games, but it wasn't to be.
Eli and Josh Cook led the way in the forwards while Jack Wythes had a big season in the centres, playing every game.
ANOTHER tough year for the Magpies, who did not win a game.
Team of the Year
- Fullback: Brett Kelly (Ballina)
- Winger: Bill King (Byron Bay)
- Winger: Caleb Howell (Murwillumbah)
- Centre: Michael Thomas (Ballina)
- Centre: Todd Johnson (Casino)
- Five-eighth: Andrew Battese (Ballina)
- Halfback: Simon Pederson (Kyogle)
- Prop: Dylan Montgomery (Ballina)
- Prop: Robby Miles (Ballina)
- Hooker: Paul O'Neill (Marist Brothers)
- Second-rower: Travis Falls (Kyogle)
- Second-rower: Simon Perkins (Ballina)
- Lock: Kane Montgomery (Ballina)
- Bench: Hemi Mullen (Byron Bay)
- Bench: Mat Cameron (Kyogle)
- Bench: Sam O'Dea (Murwillumbah)
- Bench: Kobi Mills (Murwillumbah)
- Bench: Anthony Robinson (Casino)