By sports editor IAN MONAGHAN
VILLAGE footy reputations are at stake today.
For many years odd beliefs have shrouded the village competition run under the Far North Coast Rugby Union banner.
"A haven for has-beens and never-will-be's; a competition for those who prefer a hard session at the local watering hole to a hard hit-out on the field."
They're the sort of descriptions levelled at Bangalow, Byron Bay, Evans Head, Iluka, Kyogle, Range and Woolgoolga.
The best from the those teams will try to set the record straight from 3.30pm today at the Southern Cross Uni ground when they take on a President's XV.
Other than reputations, the new Australian Macadamia Society Cup is at stake.
Grant O'Neill is coaching the Village XV and according to a spokesman: "The entire squad is determined to show the high calibre of rugby that is a hallmark of the village competition."
It's the beginning of a feast of Saturday rugby at the uni ground: From 5pm the Far North Coast Under-20s take on their New England counterparts and from 6.30pm Far North Coast's open representative team clashes with New England in the first round of the Richardson Shield, effectively the NSW Country championship.
Opens coach Karl Lupton expects a torrid time for his team against New England, which beat FNC 20-0 at Armidale last year.
"They'll be very hard to beat," he said.
"Their back row is fairly big and quick and that's where they can cause us some problems.
"We'll be looking to hang on to the ball for the most part and when we do decide to run it, we'll look to open it up pretty quick and get it wide."
Lupton said his side was full of confidence coming off a trial win over Brisbane team Goodna last weekend and would look to their tight five and speedy backs to provide the danger.
"The side has come along quite well the past few weeks," he said.
"We have a pretty good tight five and a lot of pace out wide, so we'll look to secure enough ball to get out wide to the backs."
RICHARDSON SHIELD FAR NORTH COAST TEAMS
Opens: 1. Joe MOHAMMED (Casino) (vc), 2. Brent HORAN (Ballina), 3. Nathan SMITH (Evans River), 4. Heath JOHNSTON (Casino), 5. Dru BAGGALEY (Ballina), 6. Jono SPEECHLEY (Grafton), 7. Robert TEOKA (Evans River), 8. Ben JERMANUS (Coolangatta-Tweed) 9. Brett GRAHAM (Grafton) (c), 10. Luke SULLIVAN (Ballina), 11. Rod McFARLANE (SCU), 12. Beau MILNER (Ballina), 13. Tristan ALLARD (Yamba), 14. Brenton COCHRANE (Ballina), 15. Tony BUCHANAN (Ballina), 16. Khan CHOPPY (Casino), 17. Paul BATSON (Casino), 18. Luke OSBERG-BAUER (Coolangatta-Tweed) 19. Mark McCORMACK (Casino), 20. Mitch LAMBERT (Mullumbimby), 21. Satula SIAMOA (Mullumbimby), 22. Shaun MAKINGS (Casino). Coach: Karl LUPTON. Assistant coach: Mick RUSSELL. Manager Greg WHITTLE.
Under-20s: 1. Andrew PATERSON (Lismore), 2. Wayde SCOTT (Grafton (c), 3. Simon GAVA (Lismore), 4. Angus GILLESPIE (SCU), 5. Keith MORRIS (Lismore), 6. Scott GAY (Lismore), 7. Jesse GILL (Lismore), 8. Scott BURGESS (Wollongbar-Alstonville), 9. Richard WARNER (SCU) 10. Jordan THOM (SCU), 11. Jascha SAECK (Wollongbar-Alstonville), 12. James WIVELL (SCU), 13. Anthony IOSEFO (Lismore), 14. Brad NEWBY (Lennox Head) 15. Ben DAMEN (Wollongbar-Alstonville), 16. Joel McKENZIE (SCU), 17. Michael WILSON (Wollongbar-Alstonville), 18. Ed SECOMBE (Casino), 19. Daniel WATT (Lennox Head), 20. Dylan CASHMAN (SCU), 21. Stuart STANDING (Lismore), 22. Jed PEISLEY (SCU). Coach: Adam CONDON. Manager: Josh CONDON.
Referees: Macadamia Industry Cup 3.30pm kick off, President's XV vs Combined Village Club XV. Referee: DAVE ROONEY. Touch judges: IAN LORD, BRAD CLEAVER. #4: TYLER GREEN.
Under 20s FNC v NEW ENGLAND 5pm kick-off. Referee: RICHARD McMULLEN. Touch judges: MICK MELINO, JACK QUIGLEY, #4: DAVE ROONEY, #5: IAN LORD.
Opens FNC v NEW ENGLAND 6.30pm kick-off, Round 1: Richardson Shield. Referee: ANTHONY FUREY. Touch judges: GRAHAM COOK, JOE CLAES, #4: BRAD CLEAVER, #5: MICK MELINO.
AUSTRALIAN MACADAMIA SOCIETY CUP TEAMS
President's XV: 1 Jamie PRENTICE - SCU, 2. TERRY LEWELLYN - CASINO (c), 3. CURTIS MYLES - SCU, 4. DAVID CANNON - YAMBA, 5. ADAM BOWEN - CASINO, 6. DANIEL DOYLE - SCU, 7. TODD HORSLEY - CASINO, 8. ANDREW BUDNICK - SCU, 9. SCOTT LANCASTER - LISMORE, 10. MARTIN GORDON - BALLINA, 11. TRENT GASNIER - BALLINA, 12. DYWAYNE CORRIGAN CASINO, 13. DAN McDONALD - CASINO, 14. WES TORRENS - CASINO, 15. DAMIEN THOM -SCU, 16. CRAIG CONNELLY - CASINO, 17. PAUL WOODS - BALLINA, 18. JIM BURLEY - CASINO, 19. JOE CLAES - BALLINA, 20. LUKE SERONE - CASINO, 21. GUY LATHAM - LISMORE, 22. TIM BREEN - SCU, 23. BEN FISHER - EVANS RIVER.
Village XV: 1. FRASER HILL - BANGALOW, 2. MICK LEECE - BYRON BAY, 3. ANDREW RAYWOOD - BYRON BAY, 4. STUART LINDSAY - WOOLGOOLGA, 5. PETER WILKSTROM - KYOGLE, 6. DARREN GILL - BANGALOW, 7. MICHAEL BRYANT - EVANS RIVER, 8. JOCK CRAIGEE - BANGLOW (c), 9. BEN CUMMINGS - BANGALOW (vc), 10. MATT ALEXANDER - BYRON BAY, 11. NATHAN GEMMEL EVANS RIVER, 12. GLEN HULL - WOOLGOOLGA, 13. BEN OSBORNE - KYOGLE, 14. BEN MURRAY - BYRON BAY, 15. MORGAN REIGER - WOOLGOOLGA, 16. SAM BROOMFIELD - WOOLGOOLGA, 17. DANIEL HILL - BANGALOW, 18. CHRIS DULEY - KYOGLE, 19. GREG CROMWELL - BANGALOW, 20. LES LEWIS-HUGHES - EVANS RIVER, 21. RICHARD KELLY - BANGALOW, 22. LUKE JACKSON - EVANS RIVER, 23. WARREN FISHER - BYRON BAY.