Seagulls win another NRRRL grand final
A HAT-TRICK completed right on full-time to Ballina captain-coach Jamie Lyon capped a dominant 38-18 win for the Seagulls over Murwillumbah in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League grand final.
Lyon was backing up on the inside when winger Rhys Riches made a break down the sideline after the final siren with the former NRL star going in under the cross-bar.
Earlier, the Seagulls came out of the blocks firing at Kingsford Smith Park, with Lyon scoring the opening try before centres Kel Seather and Zac Beecher crossed to make it 16-0.
"It was a great way to finish; I owe Rhys a beer later for giving me that beautiful ball at the end,” Lyon said.
"I knew the boys were keen today and we had a really good start; it's just such a great way to finish the season.
"It's been a great year; the community has really embraced me and I've made some good mates out of it.”
The Mustangs needed to produce something special before half-time and it came when winger Jack Bishop plucked a ball out of the air for a try in the corner.
Leading 16-6, Lyon was upended in a tackle and jumped into dummy-half on the next play to burrow his way over for a second try with the Seagulls taking a 20-6 lead at the break.
That try in the 39th minute was a killer blow to Murwillumbah's hopes.
Second-rower Anthony Colman kept the momentum going with a barnstorming run, forcing his way over for a try straight after half-time.
The Mustangs never gave in and Bishop was awarded a second try with a desperate put-down in the corner which looked like a bounced ball.
Beecher was denied a try earlier in the game but finished with a double when he made a break down the sideline to extend the lead to 32-12.
Mustangs second rower Nick Walker reduced the margin to 32-18 when he scored in the 63rd minute.
Hooker Michael Dwane was outstanding and set the tone early with three line breaks from dummy-half.
Second-rower Jack Durheim was another standout along with Lyon and Beecher.
It is the fifth grand final Ballina has won since 2013 and the third time they have beaten Murwillumbah in an NRRRL decider.
They have won all five at home with three straight from 2013 and another one in 2017.