Byron Bay Invitational starts with a bang

We’re one day closer to crowning the inaugural Byron Bay AFL 9s Invitational champions.

It was a tight tussle in the three divisions, with the men’s, mixed and women’s competitions all still very much up for grabs.

The two pools of men’s competition showcased some stars, with the Redland Bombers on top of Pool A and the Eshay Clan Eagles on top of Pool B.

As the only NEAFL team represented in the competition, the Bombers have had a target on their back, but it’s a position the undefeated side have handled easily, according to Bombers player, Brad Howard.

“The other sides are probably coming out to get us,” he said.

“We’re happy for them to come at us.”

The Byron 9s competition is the first foray into nines for the Bombers and Howard said it had been a matter of learning on the job.

“I think we just learnt a new one then,” he said, speaking after the Bombers’ last Day one match.

On the other side of the draw, the Eshay Clan are also undefeated, putting them in the box seat of Pool B.

Conversely to their greatest competition, the Clan have plenty of nines experience, having won four competitions at Zillmere.

Captain, Duane Hoey, said they were happy to keep their clean sheet of wins through the first day.

“We’ve got lots of good youth in the team and they’ve helped us in some tight games,” he said.

“It’s good to get a clean sweep on day one.”

The men’s competitions still have three regular fixtures to play tomorrow morning, before the two pool winners play off in the grand final.

There’s more at stake for the mixed and women’s sides, whose playoffs kick off straight away tomorrow.

It was an arm wrestle in the mixed competition, with the All State Partner Tigers the only team to avoid a loss, finishing with two wins and two draws for the day.

Captain, Matthew Bedford, said they were pretty surprised by their path to the grand final

“We felt like we brought a very average team and played very averagely,” he joked.

Bedford said the side had trained in the lead up to the competition, a choice that is obviously paying off for the undefeated side.

The Tigers are holding out hope that they will have a superstar addition tomorrow, with all teams in contention to have Jude Bolton coach and play for them on Day two.

The Tigers will have a first up bye in their play offs tomorrow.

Local Legends, made up of some Northern Rivers talent, will face third-placed UQ.

Fourth-placed Vics and fifth-placed Griffins will fight for their tournament lives, in the mixed elimination final.

Victorious Secret has been the standout side for the women’s competition, undefeated through the first day.

They will play off against the Thunder in the women’s grand final tomorrow afternoon, with a $4,000 prize up for grabs.

Coops will take on the UTS Shamrocks in the third place play off at 3pm.

Full results on http://byron9s.com.au

FULL FIXTURES

WOMEN’S AND MIXED FIXTURES FOR SUNDAY

WOMEN’S

Grand Final at 3:00pm
Victorious Secrets v Thunder
Third Place Decider at 2:00pm
Coops v UTS Shamrocks

MIXED

9:30am Qualifying Final
Local Legends v UQ
10:30am Elimination Final
The Vics v Griffins
11:30am
All State Partners Tigers v Winner of Qualifying Final

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