SPENT:  Redmen forward A J Thompson gave his all against a red-hot Wollongbar side on Saturday in Grafton's 75-5 loss in a rain-sodden contest.
SPENT: Redmen forward A J Thompson gave his all against a red-hot Wollongbar side on Saturday in Grafton's 75-5 loss in a rain-sodden contest. Gary Nichols

Trail blazers Wollongbar blitz hurting Redmen

RUGBY UNION: "They're a bloody good footy side,” that was Grafton Redmen prop Jack Anderson's take on Saturday's game against competition heavyweights Wollongbar at the Hay Street Rugby fields.

Grafton's season of woe continued after a rain-sodden 75-5 loss to the Pioneers leaving their finals campaign in tatters.

With NSW Country five-eighth Ben Damen pulling the strings behind a willing pack, the visitors ran in 11-tries against a fatigued Grafton outfit.

Damen was at his crafty best with his ability to manipulate defences a highlight of the game. The Pioneers played good-old fashioned bush rugby, throwing the coaching manual out the window and playing what was in front of them.

Grafton once again failed to make an impact with ball in hand and it wasn't until the 79th minute where they snuck through down the short side for Billy Whalan to score out wide.

Wollongbar went to the break with a comfortable 28-0 lead then unleashed with a second-half scoring blitz.

Anderson, who was arguably Grafton's best on the day, admitted the visitors were full of class but added the scoreline wasn't a fair reflection of the game.

"They have an excellent number ten who controls the game,” Anderson said after the match.

"He plays a very high standard of footy and leads them well. I thought the scoreline was a little bit harsh...we had a lot of blokes playing out of position and a lot of blokes filling in.

"When you go into the game with injuries and have more during the game, and the legend Mong (Adam Crawley) going off it's not ideal.”

Wollongbar have now won 12 straight and remain favourites to take out the title. There is no denying their backline is as good as it gets in country rugby but according to Anderson the Pioneers do have a small chink in their armour.

"It would take a team to have all players on deck and play their best game and for Wollongbar to have a shocker to beat them,” he said.

"Their backs are unbelievable although their forwards are there for the taking if you put pressure on them.”

It was a bleak day for the Redmen with second grade and womens also losing while in President's Cup Grafton fell 17-14 against Iluka.