Crucial try keeps Casino's premiership dream alive
CASINO is one win away from a grand final appearance after a hard-fought 18-14 win over the Tweed Coast Raiders in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League minor semi-final.
The Cougars reached the preliminary final against Murwillumbah in 2016 and will go into next weekend with plenty of confidence after knocking off the defending premiers at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, on Saturday.
Winger Lachlan West scored two tries in just his second game in the top grade.
He made his first-grade debut in the last competition round against Evans Head and finished with a hat-trick.
His second try on Saturday was crucial.
It came when the Cougars trailed 14-10 about the 65th-minute mark and followed some individual brilliance from captain-coach Roy Bell.
Bell chipped ahead to himself midfield and regathered, spun out of a tackle and kicked wide for the teenage winger to plant the ball down at speed with one hand.
Hooker Daine Petty scored the winning try for Casino in the 69th minute when he burrowed his way over out wide, having taken the ball down the blindside from dummy-half on the last tackle.
The Cougars' defence improved out of sight from the 40-6 loss to Murwillumbah the previous week and they did well to shut down the Raiders' main attacking threats.
Earlier, five-eighth Trevor Bolt and Bell led the way with West scoring from a perfectly timed kick from Bell in the opening minutes.
They took a 10-6 lead into half-time when Bolt threw a brilliant pass that put winger Denzel Dangerfield over.
In the other minor semi-finals at Queen Elizabeth Park, it was a double celebration for Casino after a 36-22 win over Cudgen in reserve grade.
Byron Bay proved too strong in the Under-18s with a 36-28 win over Marist Brothers while Tweed Coast defeated Cudgen 20-0 in the ladies league tag.