Oh so close -- Raiders fall short in bid for minor premiership
By BOB ANTHONY
THE Tweed Coast Raiders fell agonisingly short in their bid to claim the Retravision Northern League (RNL) rugby league minor premiership despite defeating Murwillumbah 18-16 in their final round clash at Stan Sercombe Oval yesterday.
After the win anxious Raiders players, officials and supporters immediately sought the result of yesterday's clash between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.
If the Red Devils had upset Mullumbimby, the Raiders would have claimed the minor premiership.
However, the Giants scraped home, downing the Red Devils 8-2 to deny Tweed Coast the title.
However, Raiders captain-coach Nathan Jordan refused to be downcast about missing out on the title.
Rather, he was more concerned about fine-tuning his side ahead of the qualifying semi-final clash against Ballina to be played at Les Burger Field, Bogangar on Sunday.
Jordan is determined to up the tempo next week after the Raiders were tested yesterday by a Mustangs that matched them in the wet and tricky conditions.
Both sides displayed plenty of commitment in an entertaining %affair. The wet weather failed to dampen their attacking flair with both sides willing to throw the ball around.
"This was a hard fought win, especially in these conditions," Jordan said.
"We got off to a good start but then allowed Murwillumbah back into the game."
Murwillumbah fullback Shannon Murphy celebrated his 100th game for the club in style, scoring a %trademark 60m try.
But with a home semi-final beckoning, the Raiders showed the determination needed to challenge for the premiership, repeatedly denying a rampaging Mustangs outfit before second-rower Corey Marr crossed for the winning try.
"We had to work very hard in the second half to regain the lead but we will take a lot out of this win in preparing for next week," Jordan said.
In the lower grades, Murwillumbah's reserve grade clinched the minor premiership with a solid 22-4 win while their under 18s won 18-16.
The Mustangs reserves have a week off before facing the winner of next week's match between Lower Clarence and Ballina.