Ballina Seagulls will play unbeaten minor premiers Grafton Ghosts in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League grand final after beating Northern United 36-30 in the preliminary final at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, today.

Next Sunday’s grand final at Grafton will see the Ghosts unbackable favourites to win the major premiership. They have played Ballina three times this year, winning all three, including a comprehensive 34-6 win over Ballina in last Sunday’s major semi-final.

Ballina led 18-6 at half-time in today’s final, and skipped away to a 20-point lead mid-way through the second half.

Northern United staged a brilliant comeback to get to within six points with only minutes remaining, but the Seagulls held on for a thrilling win.

NRRRL preliminary final results, Sunday, September 12, at Ballina:

First grade: Ballina 36 d Northern United 30.

BALLINA 36 Tries Robby Miles 2, Abe Crawford  2,  Kane Montgomery 1, Andrew Battese 1; Goals Andrew Battese 6
NORTHERN UNITED 30 Tries David Briggs 3 Steve Roberts 1 Willie Hammond 1, Les Roberts 1; Goals Roy Bell 3.

Reserve grade: Cudgen 24 d Byron Bay 8.

CUDGEN 24 Tries Damayne Murphy 1, Jason Baihn 1, Tom Phillips 2; Goals Jason Baihn 4
BYRON BAY 8 Tries Mitch Loane 1, Rick Randall 1.

Under-18s: Ballina 18 d Mullumbimby 8.

BALLINA 18 Tries Alley Grant 2, Nikko Roberts 1, Goals Nikko Roberts 3
MULLUMBIMBY 8 Tries Ben Martin 1 Matt Mulcahy 1.

Next Sunday, September 19, grand finals at McGuren Park, Grafton:

1st grade, 2.45pm: Grafton Ghosts v Ballina.

Reserve grade, 1.10pm: Cudgen v Northern United.

Under-18s, 11am: Grafton Ghosts v Ballina.