The Murwillumbah team, winners of the NRRRL Reserves.
The Murwillumbah team, winners of the NRRRL Reserves. Cathy Adams

Premiership joy for Mustangs reserves as first grade and under-18s go down

MURWILLUMBAH took out the reserve-grade Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League premiership on Sunday with an 18-12 win over Casino.

The win was the Mustangs’ only grand final win on the day, after the first-grade and under-18 sides went down to Ballina and Kyogle respectively.

The win helped erase some of the grand final heartache of last year, when the team was beaten by a field goal against the Cougars in a tight finish.

There was no denying the Mustangs this year, with hooker Ash Tickner picking up Player of the Match honours, awarded by the NRRRL management committee.

At one stage Casino trailed by just two points, 14-12, and it looked like the Cougars were about to snatch the win with a try in the corner, but centre Anthony Robinson’s pass was deemed to have travelled forward.

Murwillumbah centre Corey Beadling sealed the win with a try minutes later.

Second-rower Rory O’Shea made a number of linebreaks and fullback Nico Neidhart also played well.

Earlier, Murwillumbah was thumped 35-12 in the under-18s grand final against Kyogle.

Nothing went right for the Mustangs, with five-eighth Aaron Booth sin-binned before being sent off for his part in an on-field altercation.

Front-rower Bailey Crompton also spent time in the sin-bin as the Turkeys ran in six tries to the Mustangs’ two.

In first grade, Murwillumbah went down 34-6 to give the Ballina Seagulls their third consecutive premiership.

Seagulls second-rower Dan Gibson was named Player of the Match after a big effort in defence.

He also caused the Mustangs problems down the left, where Ballina scored most of their points.

Centre Jayden Coldwell Jacky completed his hat-trick with the final try for Ballina mid-way through the second half.

The game was then held up for 40 minutes when Murwillumbah second-rower Nick Crompton went down with a neck injury.

The Mustangs had no luck with injuries, losing fullback Michael Forrester early in the game.

When play resumed, Murwillumbah second-rower Dean Murphy tried all he could but ended up dislocating his teammate, winger Jack Bishop’s finger when he kicked the ball away in frustration.

That summed up the afternoon for the Mustangs, who were blown off the park by a smaller but faster Seagulls backline.

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