FINALS BOUND: Ghosts maul Sawtell to cruise into grand final
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Grafton Ghosts eased past the Sawtell Panthers with a 44-14 win in the preliminary final at Frank McGuren Field this afternoon.
Eight tries including a brace to both Mitchell Lollback and Dylan Collett were more than enough to give the Ghosts a shot at redemption against the Coffs Harbour Comets in the grand final.
The Panthers had a promising start to the game with a number of dangerous sets in the Ghosts 20 but Grafton held strong at the back.
Strong defence was rewarded when the Ghosts broke the deadlock just over five minutes in after Riley Law took his chance with a driving run.
Grafton continued to put Sawtell on the back foot, forcing some errors from their opponents and doubling their lead through Adam Slater not long later.
The Panthers had some fight and they looked likely to get themselves back in it but the Ghosts' resolve in defence was too strong as they muffled their attempts.
Lollback grabbed his first of the afternoon with a brilliant chase to snatch a Vincent Williams kick right from the Panthers' defence and score a cracking try.
Sawtell came out firing in the second half and eased their pain with a try through a try from fullback Daniel Donovan.
But the Ghosts weren't going to let a repeat of last weekend's brain snap against the Comets happen again, piling on three tries in just over five minutes through Joel Moss, Collett and Lollback.
The Panthers did manage to get two more tries through Jenyn Kahu and Chad Taylor before the final siren but it was too little too late as Sawtell's season was brought to an end.
Grafton will now have a huge week ahead as they prepare for a trip to the Geoff King Motors Sports Complex to face the Comets in the grand final in a blockbuster clash on Sunday.
Earlier in the day South Grafton Rebels staged an almighty upset to eliminate minor premiers Grafton Ghosts 18-14 in the Reserve Grade preliminary final.
Coffs Harbour Comets proved too hot to handle for Sawtell Panthers winning the Under-18s clash 28-8.
Meanwhile, Coffs Harbour Comets continued their dream finals run in ladies league tag to knock out Sawtwell Panthers 14-6.
GRAFTON GHOSTS 44 (Tries: Law 6', Slater 14', Lolback 34' 56', Moss 51', Collett 54' 66', Woods 71' Conversions: Cameron 7' 15' 35' 58' 67' 72') defeated SAWTELL PANTHERS 16 (Tries: Donovan 45', Kahu 61', Taylor 80' Conversions: Watkins 46', 80') at Frank McGuren Field.