Tim James is proving hard to stop near the try-line.
Tim James is proving hard to stop near the try-line.

Demolition man's racking up points

TIM James is built like a brick outhouse - big, solid and reliable.

The 22-year-old stands 188cm and tips the scales at a massive 122kg, most of it muscle and bone.

Despite being built along the lines of a Mack truck, on a football field he motors up and down as if he were a high-powered sports car.

James's acceleration - amazing for such a big man - has enabled him to sit on top of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League try-scoring list with 16 four-pointers, including four earlier this month against Kyogle and an amazing five tries in last week's demolition of Casino.

Most blokes his size would be happy to finish their careers with five tries.

Any person grabbing five tries in a match obviously has a high work-rate - you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch the ball and run.

Most of his tries have followed a similar scenario.

James receives the ball first pass off the ruck within 20 metres of the opposition goal-line.

He quickly hits top speed and fearlessly hammers into the defensive line, bumping off the first one or two tacklers and then carrying two or three - once there were five - other defenders across the try-line.

They clamber over him like monkeys - a couple on his back and a few more hanging on grimly to those powerful legs as, piston-like, they keep pounding away until he sates his white-line fever.

The big fella will be at it again this afternoon at Lismore's Crozier Oval, where the Mustangs tackle the free-running Northern United in a crunch match for the host.

Northern United is hanging on grimly to fourth place and a shock win here would kill off any chance of Marist Brothers leap-frogging it into fifth place.

James and his teammates will make a bird of the NRRRL minor premiership with just next week's final round to be played, if, as expected, they account for Northern United.

Mustangs' president Nigel Lofts says the club is thrilled by James's contribution to the team since switching camps from Gold Coast Tweed Bycroft Cup premiers Bilambil Jets.

"Like a lot of big men, he wasn't in the best of nick early in the season but with match fitness, he has firmly established himself in a star-studded pack," Lofts said.

James said he was having a wow of a time playing alongside the likes of Damien Quinn, Luke Covell and livewire hooker-dummy half Sam Panting.

"Covey and Quinny have been there, done that on the football field and their experience in the way they play and prepare for a game is rubbing off on the rest of us," James said.

"I'm a better player for it and so too is everyone else in the team."

James has developed a strong rapport on the field with Panting, whose slick service and ability to read the play around the rucks is ensuring the big man gets the ball in hand when he can be his most dangerous.

And that is whenever he gets those huge claws around the ball.

The Mustangs will take an unchanged line-up onto the field against Northern United but watching from the sidelines will be three regular first-graders who are almost ready to return from injury.

Covell (knee), Michael Keating (hamstring) and Shaun Dorney (groin) will definitely be available for the semi-finals and might be fit enough to play in the final round against Ballina at Stan Sercombe Oval next week.

Covell underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee in Sydney recently and reports are the procedure was a success.

Covell's leadership, skills and magnificent goal-kicking will be vital assets as the Mustangs surge towards a deserved premiership flag.

When the trio returns to the paddock, it will leave coach Troy McLean with bit of a headache in regards to top-grade selections. Mustangs: 1 Dylan Smith 2 Troy Macarthur 3 Caleb Howell 4 Damien Quinn 5 Michael Forrester 6 Matt Goodfellow 7 Nathan Jordan 8 Sam Ross 9 Sam Panting 10 Shane Kight 11 Luke Covell 12 Tim James 13 Jarred Flick. Bench: 14 Lionel Foster 15 Nathan Callister.

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