Rugby has been turned on its ear

Its almost inconceivable but the Lennox Head Trojans are on top of the the Far North Coast Rugby Union ladder and Grafton, grand finalists for the last three years running, are languishing around the bottom of the table.

Lennox, last years easiest of easy-beats, seem to have been transformed into the powerhouse of the local game. On Saturday they keelhauled the Yamba Buccaneers 26-0 thanks to tireless display at the breakdown by breakaway Harry Witt. Yamba hooker Pat Day put in a champion effort but it was Lennox five-eighth Mathew Barnes who shone, crossing for two of the Trojans four tries.

In a dour forward battle at Lyle Park in Wollongbar, Casino finally ground down the Pioneers to win 11-5 after the Bulls pack produced a late try in the corner from a lineout. Casino shifted breakaway Shaun Makings to number eight, where he produced a man-of-the-match performance.

Pioneers hooker Aaron Burnett tackled like a man possessed but it wasnt enough to hold back the beef capital men, who came home hard on the back of a host of rucking penalties.

Young Grafton flanker Bryce Speechley soured a champion effort by missing a penalty goal from directly in front in the shadow of fulltime as Ballina came away with a 11-10 win. Speechley, one of the best prospects around, produced a gutsy performance but his miss proved decisive. Ballinas halfback Troy Nichols and number eight Ed Atkin worked well at the base of the scrum for the Seahorses in another tight, gritty and boring forward encounter.

Tweed Heads/Coolangatta maintained their position in equal first with Lennox Head by clobbering Lismore 20-8.

This weekend Casino will host Tweed, the Pioneers will welcome the Gold Rats to Lyle Park, Lismore will play their first home game against Ballina, and in a real test of the new order, the Trojans will play Grafton at Lennox Head.

Point Score: Lennox Head 10, Tweed Heads/ Coolangatta 10, Ballina 9, Casino 8, Wollongbar Alstonville 6, Southern Cross 5, Grafton 1, Yamba 0 and Lismore 0.


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