Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Ballina Rule in Second Half; Seahorses Send a Message to Their Rivals with Victory over Defending Premiers

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Ballina Rule in Second Half; Seahorses Send a Message to Their Rivals with Victory over Defending Premiers

Article excerpt

Byline: Mitchell Craig mitchell.craig@northernstar.com.au

BALLINA have fired an early warning shot after beating defending premiers Wollongbar-Alstonville 57-33 in Far North Coast rugby union at Lyle Park, Wollongbar on Saturday.

It was a dominant second-half performance by the Seahorses which saw them pile on seven tries and 43 unanswered points.

Five-eighth Grant Knight was tenacious in scoring his second try and kept the Pioneers in their own half with his astute kicking game.

No.8 Jake Smith scored a similar try and went on to score the second from the back of a scrum.

Ballina were ruthless at the set piece with halfback Mitchell Knight scoring a try from another pushover scrum.

"We scored plenty of points but I think it was our defence that really improved in the second half," Ballina coach Chris Hickey said.

"On the back of that the opportunities came and a lot of it was just the simple stuff done well.

"Two pushover tries is a great reward for the hard work our front-rowers do week in and week out.

"We're pretty confident with whoever comes into the team and this gives us something to build on now."

The Pioneers looked the better team in the first half and it seemed like that might have gone on with them taking a 26-14 lead into the break.

Second-rower Steve Mison produced a strong performance and they ran in back-to-back tries just before half-time.

However, they were starved of possession as the game went on with front-rower Alivate Karalo scoring a consolation try just before full-time.

It was his second of the game and he found enough space out wide after Ballina centre Anthony Lolohea was yellow-carded.

Coach Ern Sandral is not pushing the panic button yet with a handful of players still to come back into the side.

"We were optimistic going into the second half because of that momentum we had," Sandral said. …

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