Jets face reigning champs in debut NRRRL appearance
BILAMBIL Jets were graced with the return of Jacob Hind from Burleigh and put up a strong fight against reigning champions Ballina in their Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League debut today.
But their efforts were not quite enough to defeat Ballina Seagulls in muddy conditions in at the Bilambil Sports Complex.
Bilambil's A-Grade coach Craig Rowles said they welcomed coming up against the hard-to-beat Seagulls in round one of the delayed season.
"We just wanted to compete against top-of-the table premiers and I thought we did," Rowles said.
"We asked some questions of them and I thought we were physical enough.
"But we just dropped too much ball, we just made too many rookie errors at dumb times."
In the final minutes Bilambil looked like they were gaining some ground, but they were ultimately defeated 36-24.
"All we've ever seen is video but we've always known that Ballina's the benchmark," Rowles said.
"To draw them round one was good, I think, for us, because we know where it's at.
"So we'll learn a lot from that."
He said the team was enthusiastic about joining the NRRRL after a move from the Gold Coast competition.
"The boys are keen and the feeling's really good and they're just really happy to be in the comp and hopefully we can compete well," Rowles said.
Jacob Hind was leading up front for the Jets after returning from Burleigh.
"This is his home club," Rowles said.
"He's a junior life member."
He said the Jets had a few debutantes in their ranks, too, including Klese Hass and Tim Johanssen.
"They're really good strong young men and they've got some learning to do, but I couldn't be prouder," Rowles said.
"Fingers crossed the comp continues and this COVID thing doesn't knock it on the head again.
"We're just looking to grow and to continue to compete.
"No one gives us a hope so we've got nothing to lose."