Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Ballina Boys Beat the Biff; Seagulls Rise above Northern United on the Park, Scoreboard

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Ballina Boys Beat the Biff; Seagulls Rise above Northern United on the Park, Scoreboard

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT BLOMBERG matt.blomberg@northernstar.com.au

BALLINA will get a crack at Grafton Ghosts next weekend after holding on to beat Northern United 30-28 in a scrappy Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League major preliminary semi-final at Oakes Oval, Lismore, yesterday.

You wouldn't call it rugby league a apart from two five-minute patches a but whatever it was, Ballina ended up with more points on the scoreboard.

Evan Hickling scored a solo tryin the final stages to bring United within two points, but third-string goal-kicker Justin Bolt missed his chance to square it up from 15 metres in from touch.

The purists would have walked out of the game if they weren't supporting one of the teams "United spent more energy on foul play than on game play.

A series of blatant high-shots, a warning for tripping or kicking, pushes in the back, punching blokes on the ground and more backchat than the kid in the crowd whose mum wouldn't buy him another drink.

Northern United did it all.

Coach Chris Binge took aim at Cudgen for dirty tactics after beating the Hornets the previous Sunday but some of his men need to drop the ego and play footy.

David Briggs is an exceptional talent. He scored a try and set up two more in this match a his attack kept United in the game.

The centre three-quarter is possibly the hardest player to tackle in the competition.

But his petulant displays of unsportsmanlike aggression every time he is involved in a ruck needto be reeled in.

He also needs to learn to tackle.

Ed Killingbeck and Abe Crawford scored a brace each down Briggs' flank and other clubs will certainly have taken note with any edge vital in the finals.

Killingbeck was outstanding for the Seagulls but their best was tireless prop Jason Clarke, who had to run headlong into the fired-up United defence all game.

Paul O'Neill and Andrew Battese pulled the strings in unison for the Seagulls but it wasn't until after half-time that either side was allowed to play football. …

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