The Bellingen Valley/Dorrigo Magpies travelled to Grafton on the weekend to play the Grafton Ghosts in three grades. Reserve Grade came away with a comprehensive win, the Under 18’s came back from a hefty defeat to be beaten on the bell and the Ladies League Tag were defeated in a closely contested game.
All credit to the Grafton Ghosts for their sportsman like attitude to the Reserve Grade game. This was the second time the Ghosts have played their regular week in week out Reserve Grade team against the Magpies. The first half was a hard tussle between the two teams. After the early period of sorting each other out Jimmy Kelly scored for the Magpies but Grafton evened up the scores late in the half, however a Kyle Harrell off load on the half time bell saw a quick interchange of passes for Malek Afaumua to cross wide out for the Magpies. Josh Shearim converted and the Magpies led 8-4 at the break.
The second half was all the Magpies. Early on Louis Taylor crossed then he almost immediately made a long break down the field to offload to William Warner who scored in the corner. Both tries were successfully converted by Josh Shearim (22-4). Malek then crossed for his fourth try of the day after another passing movement (26-4). Grafton scored immediately after re-gathering from the kick off (26-8). The Magpies finished off the game with tries to Kalani Morris and another to Jimmy Kelly. Josh Shearim converted the first and the Magpies came away with the first Magpie win over the Ghosts in Grafton in many seasons (36-8).
The Under 18’s turned into an exciting affair after the Magpies seemed down and out at the half time break. Early on Malek Afaumua made a break to put Kalani Morris over for a try. Grafton replied with a converted try to take the lead 6-4. Taniela Bula then touched down from a clever cross-field kick for the Magpies to retake the lead 8-6. The rest of the half was all the Ghosts as they seemed to get the benefit of all the 50/50 calls and also several Magpie errors leaving the score 24-8 at the half time break.
Despite things looking pretty bleak for the Magpies they certainly turned things around in the second half. Byron Auld scored early (24-12) and the Magpies were all over the Ghosts with hard hitting defence and attack leading to two tries to Malek Afaumua one of them converted by Michael White (24-22). Right on the full time bell Malek was recalled for a forward pass. What a great game from the Magpies who were down on numbers due to suspension and injury.
In Ladies League Tag the game was always going to be close as the teams were probably playing for third spot on the ladder. Abbey Osland sliced through the Grafton defence to score early however Grafton was quick to reply with a converted try (6-4). With many of her family making the trip in support Jacquie Glanville was next to cross for a try, Sarah Beaumont converting leaving the score at 10-6 at the break.
In the latter part of the half the Magpies had to defend grimly and this came back to effect them in the second half as the ghost were able to score two tries converting one to lead 16-10. Late in the half Marion Campbell threw a long cut out pass to Jaimie Shaw to cross wide out. Unfortunately the conversion missed and the Magpies were defeated 16-14.
Next week the Magpies take on the Sawtell Panthers in three grades at Bellingen Park on Sunday in the last home game of the 2018 season. All games are very important as we make our run for the semis so your support would be much appreciated.