Mustangs charge while Raiders slip up in NRRRL
IT was mixed results in NRRRL finals action over the weekend with one Tweed club surging while two others stumbled badly.
The Murwillumbah Mustangs are on pace to complete a dream run to the grand final after eliminating the Cudgen Hornets in Saturday's NRRRL semi.
Meanwhile, the Tweed Coast Raiders, despite earning two weeks' rest after finishing the season as minor-premiers, could not will themselves over the line in Sunday's qualifying final against the Ballina Seagulls.
The loss was only the Raiders' second for the season.
Ballina will now host the grand final for the fifth time since 2013 after the gritty 14-12 win at Les Burger Field.
Reigning premiers Ballina will face the winner between the Raiders and Mustangs this Sunday at Les Burger Field.
It means a Tweed team is, again, guaranteed to compete in the grand final this season, but the Seagulls are now in pole position.
The Raiders, however, nearly snatched the game from Ballina at the death when second-rower Cory Blair made a break down the right edge, which paved the way for centre Drew Lanston to score in the 69th minute.
Raiders' five-eighth Tahne Robinson then had the chance to hit the equaliser from near the sideline, but his kick hit the right goal post.
Only Murwillumbah has been able to win a grand final away from home since 2007, while Ballina has won four of the last five NRRRL premierships at home.
For Cudgen, who at one stage during the season looked poised to reach yet another NRRRL grand final, it wasn't all bad news, with the club's Under 18 side defeating minor-premiers Ballina 8-4 in its semi.