Chelsea tames Teahupoo giants
By STEVE SPINKS
ATIRELESS display by Murwillumbah hooker Jarrod Brown helped Northern Rivers romp to a 46-10 victory over Northern Division last night.
Northern Division's NSW Country Divisional Championship hopes plummeted when former Newcastle Knights prop Matt Parsons was helped from the field with a leg injury in the City-Country curtain-raiser at Oakes Oval, Lismore.
Parsons could only watch helplessly from the sidelines as South Grafton five-eighth Ray Mercy cut Northern Division to shreds.
The former North Queensland Cowboy scored four tries, set up one other and proved a general menace in attack.
But his defensive display was also very impressive. He pulled off some bone-shattering tackles and it earned him the ire of the Northern Division side.
To say coach Jamie Mathiou was impressed is an understatement.
"Ray Mercy was simply outstanding," Mathiou said. "He was great with the ball, but he did heaps of work off the ball as well." Northern Division's much vaunted forward pack broke apart under the sheer pace of the Northern Rivers team.
This was highlighted when Marist Brothers prop Simon Andrews chased down Northern Division winger Shane Hasselmann early in the first half. His Brothers teammate Luke Campbell was also energetic around the field, setting up one try and making plenty of yards up the ruck.
Cudgen fullback Craig Thurston was also impressive with his raw pace proving very hard to contain. Northern Rivers will now meet the highly fancied Newcastle in the second round at Foster next Saturday.
NORTHERN RIVERS 46 (Ray Mercy four, Shaun Laurie, Brian McCarthy, Nico Vakararawa, Craig Thurston tries; Shaun Laurie six, Craig Thurston goals) d NORTHERN DIVISION 10 (Brett Thomas two tries; Ben Surtees goal).