Ghosts get out of jail late against valiant Sea Eagles

RUGBY LEAGUE: In a thriller that defied their positions on the table, the Grafton Ghosts wrestled back victory 30 to 28 with minutes left on the clock against a visiting Macksville Sea Eagles.

The Sea Eagles were out of the blocks early in their attempts to shock the Ghosts in the Group 2 Rugby League round 10 encounter on a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon at Frank McGuren Field.

After the home side lost possession on their side of the halfway line, it was not long before Macksville made them pay.

A short side blitz from captain Aaron Wood was enough to squeeze centre Robert Smith across the line.

The early four-pointer for the visitors was a wake-up call for the Ghosts who switched on up the middle, surging over the advantage line on a consistent basis.

Mitch Gorman was the first to cross the stripe for the Ghosts after he snuck his way down the western touchline from 10 metres out.

But it was Gorman's opposite number Peter Bula who showed a real turn of speed for the Sea Eagles' second try shortly after, when the winger burned Gorman and Nick Monckton on his way to score to give Macksville a six-point lead.

The Ghosts levelled the scores through a scrum set-play that saw centre Dylan Collett explode up the middle to cross under the posts.

On the next set, halfback Jayden Connors gave the Ghosts the lead for the first time in the match when he broke through tired Sea Eagles players around the ruck.

The Sea Eagles reignited when former NRL forward Daine Laurie joined the fray. The big number 16 was a force for the visitors and produced an offload in the middle of the field for captain Sam Miles to level the scores heading into the sheds.

Macksville returned from the break with a renewed vigour and were again the first to gain the ascendancy through a second try to Miles.

But the Ghosts were relentless up the middle, not willing to give an inch in the battle of the forwards.

Tempers flared in the second half and boiled over when former Macksville captain Wood used his knee on the head of Khan Williams. The second rower continued the treatment long after the tackle was completed, not allowing Williams to stand up to play the ball.

Referee Lloyd Linwood was given no choice but to send the Sea Eagle enforcer to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

It was a tight final minutes with the Sea Eagles scoring through Mike Tyerman, but a missed conversion had the home side only up by four points.

It was a brain snap from Macksville captain on the next set when he threw the ball over the sideline on the full 10 metres out that gave the Ghosts a final sniff at stealing victory.

It was a quick shift to the left, and then back across to the right for Khan Williams who crashed across the stripe to give Connors one chance to steal the game.

From 10 in from touch, Connors' strike was smooth and crisp to give the Ghosts the victory.

Who was your man of the match in Grafton's thrilling 30-28 win over Macksville?

This poll ended on 26 August 2016.

Current Results

Mitch Gorman

2%

Jayden Connors

73%

Todd Cameron

11%

Other

11%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

SCORELINE

Grafton Ghosts 30 (Mitch Gorman 2, Dylan Collett, Khan Williams, Jayden Connors; Jayden Connors 5 goals) def Macksville Sea Eagles 28 (Sam Miles 2, Peter Bula, Robert Smith, Mike Tyreman; Ricky Morris 4 goals).

Who will win the 2016 Group 2 Rugby League First Grade Premiership?

This poll ended on 15 August 2016.

Current Results

South Grafton Rebels

34%

Coffs Harbour Comets

10%

Nambucca Heads Roosters

3%

Grafton Ghosts

20%

Macksville Sea Eagles

4%

Sawtell Panthers

7%

Orara Valley Axemen

9%

Bellingen Magpies

3%

Woolgoolga Seahorses

5%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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