Devil of a time for Byron Bay
A HAMSTRING injury to Byron Bay five-eighth Todd Carney has seen the Red Devils miss out on semi-finals after a 38-16 loss to Ballina yesterday in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
Byron Bay never recovered from losing Carney in the opening 15 minutes, with the Seagulls running in four first-half tries to take a 22-6 half-time lead at Byron Bay.
The Red Devils were fourth on the ladder but have finished sixth after they were leapfrogged by Cudgen and Tweed Coast, which drew 24-all draw at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.
Ballina toughed it out and were brave, having lost both front-rowers when Nick Ritter (knee) and Andrew Bracek (shoulder) were injured early and left the field.
The Seagulls will sweat on their return with the minor premiers now only one win away from hosting the grand final next month.
"It was a good, tough win and we were just throwing blokes around out there,” Ballina captain-coach Jamie Lyon said.
"We were still pretty strong in the end; we have a few little errors to iron out but the boys love throwing the footy around.
"I feel sorry for Byron and Todd with his hamstring; they're really annoying injuries and there's not much you can do about them.
"We have a little bit of time to rest up now and we'll look forward to getting back home and playing a final there.”
Byron Bay copped a hiding in the penalty count and were never going to win once Ballina centre Kel Sheather scored straight after half-time.
Front-rower Dylan Montgomery was sin-binned in the first half while Kyle Kennedy ended up on report for an elbow in a tackle on Ballina halfback Jess Perry.
Perry copped another elbow in the following set but it was all one-way traffic for the Seagulls when Sheather scored his second try for a 32-6 lead with 23 minutes to go.
Byron Bay centre Dan Gibson scored a try in a big effort after it looked like his day could have been over in the first half with a neck injury.
Red Devils hooker Andrew Battese narrowed the margin to 32-16 when he scored before a late try to Ballina centre Liam Anderson.
In other games, Evans Head finished the season with its first win in a 22-14 effort over Marist Brothers on Saturday while Murwillumbah belted Mullumbimby 80-0.
And Kyogle defeated Northern United 46-24 at Crozier Field, Lismore.
Saturday: Cudgen v Tweed Coast at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff
Sunday: Murwillumbah v Casino at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah