BURSTING THROUGH: Redmen Rubies star Shellie Long attempts to break free of a tackle during the side's Mid North Coast rugby clash with Wauchope Thunder.
BURSTING THROUGH: Redmen Rubies star Shellie Long attempts to break free of a tackle during the side's Mid North Coast rugby clash with Wauchope Thunder. Matthew Elkerton

Rubies almost secure thrilling win at home

RUGBY UNION: Grafton Redmen Rubies came within seconds of notching their first win of the side's inaugural Mid North Coast Rugby season.

After a blazing start from the Rubies with tries to Jozee Adamson and Kelly McPherson in the opening two minutes of the game, it would come down to a poor record in front of goal that cost the side.

But they had a chance to seal the match on the stroke of full-time except for a couple of powerful runs from the Wauchope Thunder side to steal a 22-15 victory in the shadows of the full-time siren.

Despite the heartbreaking circumstances of the loss, Rubies coach Garry Wilson could hardly hide his emotion after the contest at Rugby Park.

"(The Rubies) always give their all; that game has just shown the growth in our girls this season,” Wilson said.

"Wauchope is top of the Mid North Coast table and for us to be leading them at halftime, only for them to come back in the dying stages, is very heartening for our women's rugby program.”

It was a see-sawing contest in front of a very strong crowd in South Grafton, especially considering the Rubies 14-minute game was the only action of the afternoon after Wauchope forfeited first grade.

The Thunder girls managed to take the lead for the first time early in the second half after Rubies' stand-in captain Danielle Boland had been helped from the field with a suspected knee ligament injury.

But it was a scintillating solo effort from Rubies star recruit Shellie Long that brought the side back into the contest and almost delivered a first win.

"My heart was in my throat for most of that game, but I thought the girls managed to keep their own composure really well,” Wilson said.

"We lost our captain early in the first half - she brings a lot to the team, but the girls rallied themselves and they have come away with an exceptional result despite the scoreline.

"We knew Wauchope likes to utilise their strength in those middle channels, so we tried to stick to the outside route and went around them. When we managed to do that was when we got the reward with tries.

"The size of the hearts in this Rubies team more than makes up for the size disadvantage they might have on the field.”

The club's first grade side was left disappointed after Wauchope pulled the pin on the clash at the 11th hour.

Redmen receive 60 points to their for and against and stay at the top of the ladder. It will put the focus squarely on the side's top-of-the-table road trip to Hastings Valley next weekend as they aim to shore up a home ground semi-final in August.