Ex-Wallaby runs riot against injury-ravaged Redmen
MCKIMMS Grafton Redmen suffered their fourth consecutive loss on Saturday, this time to the Lennox Head Trojans in front of a their biggest home crowd of the season.
For Grafton, there simply wasn't enough reward on the scoreboard as they struggled to combat the Trojans up-tempo game in the 48-7 defeat.
Grafton did well to stay in the contest at halftime but should have capitalised when Lennox had two players yellow carded, leaving the visitors stretched for numbers.
Down 14-0 at the break, Grafton, as they have done in previous weeks, dropped their intensity allowing the visitors to take advantage of a heavy weight of possession.
The longer the game went on the tougher the assignment looked as Trojans playmaker and former Wallaby Berrick Barnes took control of the game.
Grafton did salvage some pride with a try midway through the second half after a deft kick by Kyle Hancock threaded the defence for Wirri Boland to score out wide.
However, it was the beginning of the end of their resurgence with the visitors keeping Grafton at bay for the remainder of the game.
Redmen captain Kyle Hancock admits his side need to better manage injuries and players playing out of position.
"In the first half we were certainly in the contest, but again a few injuries and shifting players didn't help," Hancock said after the game.
"Every team goes through the same scenario, losing players through injury, but we need to find a way to cope with that.
" Again I couldn't fault anyone's effort today, especially when guys had to slot into different positions."
When asked about his side's inability to score points while the opposition had two players in the bin, Hancock agreed it was a missed opportunity.
"It was a crucial time just before the break when they had two guys yellow-carded," he said.
"When you have numbers you need to suck the defence in, be patient, and then look for the space out wide.
"We took some wrong options but credit to them (Lennox), they muscled up in defence."
Barnes had a huge influence on the game directing traffic and slotting five conversions and a penalty goal.
With a mountain of possession, Barnes continually set his backline alight as fatigue proved a major factor for the Redmen.
The Redmen second grade side also went down to Lennox 53-5.
Grafton's next assignment is an away game against Casino.