Rubies polish skills in a first-game try-out
RUGBY UNION: There were heavy hits, thrilling tries and smiles that could light up the room as the Grafton Redmen Rubies played their first game in the red and white hoops.
While the Redmen might not have gotten the result they were after, going down 14-0 in friendly competition with Byron Bay, the score was the last thing the girls were worried about after the game.
Inspirational efforts were seen across the field, including Shellie Long, who was a tackling machine in the first third for the Redmen before she switched over to the Byron side to make up the numbers after a player was taken off injured.
Rampaging front-rower Leigh Johnson-Heron was also unstoppable with the ball in her hands running through the Byron defences.
The crowd shouted oohs, ahhs and everything in between, with more than 1000 people on the Redmen hill lapping up the excitement of the Rubies' first game.
For Rubies captain Bridgett Mawhirtt, the 60 minutes on the field was the culmination of an eight-week journey that has seen the Rubies galvanise not only as a team, but as a group of friends.
"It was pretty good, I am pretty pumped actually," she said after the game. "There was a lot of good technique out there that we have learnt over not much time.
"From going from the first training session and only having two or three players to now having upwards of 20 players, it is a solid effort for a small country town.
"We have got girls out there like Leigh that just run their hardest and put their all into every tackle, and that is exactly what you want. Then we have people out there that just love the game for what it is."
It was a special day for the Redmen as the club celebrated 50 years on the field in style with wins over the Coffs Snappers in first grade and reserve grade.
Pick up tomorrow's The Daily Examiner for Gary Nichols' full report on the day.