Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

YEAR OF THE 'GULL; Sports Editor Mitchell Craig Looks Back at the 2017 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League Season, Team by Team, in Order of Where They Finished in the Competition

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

YEAR OF THE 'GULL; Sports Editor Mitchell Craig Looks Back at the 2017 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League Season, Team by Team, in Order of Where They Finished in the Competition

Article excerpt

Ballina

Ballina won its fourth NRRRL premiership in five years after a hard-fought 32-24 win over Cudgen in the grand final at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.

Fullback Oliver Regan had a big year for the Seagulls, coming back from Queens- land Cup, while second- rower Justin Shillingsworth was also consistent.

Key forwards Andrew Battese and Dylan Montgomery returned for the semi-finals after injuries late in the season while Mick Foster won a premiership in his first year as coach.

Cudgen

Completed back-to-back grand final appearances but came up short again.

Lock Anthony Flores was solid all season but his actions proved costly in the grand final when he was sent off in the opening minutes for a spear tackle on Ballina halfback Jess Perry.

Second-rower Caleb Ziebell was the NRRRL player of the year and picked up player-of-the-match honours in a losing side in the grand final.

Marist Brothers

Made it as far as the preliminary final for the first time since 2008.

Lock Jack Durheim was a standout and they had a group of hard-working forwards including hooker Paul O'Neill and second- rowers Jake Hoban and Kyle Kennedy.

Tweed Coast

Second season back in the NRRRL and they look to be building nicely with premiership-winning Manly front-rower Brent Kite taking over as coach next season.

Lock Kalani Hensby was a revelation while centre Drew Lanston and hooker Dan Willoughy led from the front.

Casino

Looked a genuine premiership threat for most of the year but were crippled by injuries at the business end of the season.

New addition Tim Ring and lock Hayden Pratt were outstanding in the forwards while teenage halfback Tahne Robinson looks to have a big future.

Murwillumbah

A slow start to the season was always going to make it tough for Murwillumbah to defend the premiership they won in 2016. …

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