GRAFTON Ghosts' shock loss to Ballina at home on Sunday has put Murwillumbah Mustangs in the box seat to claim the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League first grade minor premiership.
Ballina became the second side this season to put the defending premiers on the wrong side of the score line in tossing them 34-22 while the Mustangs, the other side to beat the Ghosts this year, leap-frogged their arch rivals into the top spot on the ladder with a 30-10 defeat of Lower Clarence.
With just four rounds remaining before the semi-finals, Murwillumbah hold pride of place on the ladder with 20 points, two ahead of the Ghosts who are trailed by Ballina (16), Byron Bay (16), Northern United (15), Evans Head (14), Kyogle (12), Marist Brothers (8), Casino (6), Lower Clarence (4) and Mullumbimby (1).
The Mustangs are now strongly favoured to win the minor premiership which gives them a home semi-final which is always a good money-spinner for the host club.
They have the bye next week and in the remaining three home and away fixtures they face Casino away and finish with home games against Evans Head and Ballina.
In other results over the weekend, Kyogle beat Mullumbimby 32-12, Byron Bay defeated Casino 22-6 and the Evans Head-Marist Brothers clash was postponed due to a sodden playing surface.
TWEED Heads Seagulls kept their hold on third position on the Queensland Rugby League Intrust Cup ladder with a solid 22-14 win over Burleigh Bears at Piggabeen Sports Complex yesterday.
Beau Henry had a big day out for the Seagulls, amassing 14 points from two tries and three conversions.
The classy five-eighth is playing in terrific form and must be pushing for promotion into the Gold Coast Titans National Rugby League squad.
The Seagulls now sit on 21 competition points, trailing only Wynnum Manly (26) and Redcliffe Dolphins (24).
TUGUN have once again claimed victory on their home turf with a 32-18 victory over the Currumbin Eagles in their Gold Coast-Tweed Rugby League match-of-the-round on Sunday.
The Seahawks have won all their games at home this season and this win means they hold onto their share of first place alongside Southport and Burleigh.
Currumbin went into the game with plenty of confidence having beaten the Seahawks at their previous meeting and despite going down by 14 points they never gave up and were always in the contest.
"It's definitely a different Currumbin side (compared to last year), they're going to shake up a lot of teams in the back end of the season," said Seahawks coach Selwyn Apanui.
In other Bycroft Cup results, Burleigh Bears defeated Runaway Bay 18-10, Southport Tigers inflicted a 76-10 defeat on Tweed Coast Raiders and Bilambil Jets tossed Cudgen Hornets 44-12.
Despite the lopsided score line at Southport, the Raiders never shirked their task and it was only the lack of respect for possession which enabled their hosts to rack up such a big score.
The Raiders gave away silly penalties, kicked early in their sets and dropped a ton of pill, all of which enabled the Tigers to dominate possession.
Cudgen also 'put in' against the Jets, handing in a very much improved performance on their previous efforts this season.
Gold Coast Soccer
TWEED Valley Kings bid farewell to any chance of figuring in the Premier League semi-finals after being absolutely hammered 7-1 by Palm Beach at the Mallawa Complex on Saturday.
In first division action, Tweed United's minor premiership prospects were dented by being held to a 2-2 draw by Griffith University at Arkinstall Park on Saturday.
Unfortunately a heavy track at Jim Devine Oval forced officials to postpone Murwillumbah's clash with Tugun. The game will be played at a date to be fixed.
COOLANGATTA-Tweed Heads Blues sustained another heavy defeat on Saturday to keep them firmly near the tail of the competition ladder.
The Blues went up to Lemke Rd to face Sandgate and copped a 18-12 (120) to 5.5 (35) hiding which ensured they remained in 10th place in the 11-team competition.
FNC Rugby Union
THE Gentleman of Murwillumbah had their semi-final aspirations dented in a 36-10 loss to Grafton at Murwillumbah Brothers Leagues ground on Saturday.
The Gents are now in fifth place on 14 points behind Yamba (35), Grafton (33), Byron Bay (33) and Bangalow (21).