Ballina 'digs deep' to win NRRRL grand final
"YOU have to put in until the end and we did."
Ballina Seagulls First Grade captain coach Luke Douglas was beyond excited as the final siren sounded and showed they had won back-to-back Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League Gold premierships, defeating Marist Brothers 30 to 16.
Ballina won three of the four premierships, winning the U18s, Reserves and A-Grade, while their Ladies League Tag team lost to Marist Brothers.
As his teammates threw their heads back and shouted in delight, hugged each other and jumped about as their and supporters surged across the turf at Kingsford Smith Park, Douglas' face was lit up with a massive smile.
"It was really good," he said.
"The girls did it tough with the first one and could not get the win and then the U18s, Reserves and then us, we won.
"We dug deep and got there in the end but it was a tough battle with Marist Brothers. I'm buggered."
Douglas praised the opposition for their relentless pressure.
He said despite the scoreboard, this was no easy win.
"They were coming home with a wet sail, we had to fight through and put in until the end, so we were lucky to come in with a late try."
Marist Brothers coach Mark Sivewright was obviously devastated but said his team played their best.
As his players stood looking shell-shocked on the field watching Ballina celebrate, Sivewright went among them, shaking hands and quietly speaking to the men who had given their all during the game.
"I am so proud of the boys," he said.
"They are a really good team, we gave it our all.
"But it was too far to come back, we were 20-nil at halftime."
It was a dramatic day for the NRRRL with the U18s game temporarily halted due to COVID-19 regulations not being met.
On social media many people complained about the NRRRL selling more tickets than the ground could accommodate.