Seagulls hope to make top three
BALLINA Seagulls set themselves a goal this year – make the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League top three.
Tomorrow, at their Kingsford Smith Park home, they must beat Byron Bay to keep that dream alive.
And if they do, they will extinguish the Red Devils’ flame for 2010.
Assistant coach Greg Barnes was happy to name a full-strength side for the clash – right now it’s all hands on deck.
“We are in a position to achieve our top-three goal now, we just have to ram home the advantage,” Barnes said.
The two seaside clubs met six weeks ago in Round 10 – the match ended in a 30-all stalemate but Barnes sees plenty of improvement in his men.
“We were a fair way from our best that day,” he said.
“If we can lift a notch on Sunday we should knock them off.”
The Seagulls are running with a plethora of back-rowers in their side – apart from the three who start in the 11, 12 and 13 jerseys, they have Damian Sironen on the bench and Dane Clarke and Ed Killingbeck out in the centres.
But this has proven a success in recent weeks with their fringe defence outstanding.
And it will need to be against Byron because the Red Devils have the electric Kelly brothers – all three of them – on deck for the must-win clash.
In other NRRRL games tomorrow:
Marist Brothers face the unenviable task of having to knock over Ghosts at Grafton tostay in the top five.
Five weeks ago Brothers fought torridly against Ghosts but still went down 13-6 and their line-up has been further depleted since then.
Rod McFarlane, Dylan Coleman and Jake Campbell are out of the side but bookend Simon Andrews believes all is not lost.
Mook Harrington moves from fullback to wear the No 6 jersey.
“Mooky brings another dynamic to our attack,” Andrews said.
“He probably adds some size and speed to the front line and the more he gets his hands on the ball the better.”
Noel King also returns to the side and could prove the x-factor that Brothers have been lacking.
Andrews knows the gravity of the clash tomorrow but is none the wiser as to how a team gets to topple the Ghosts juggernaut.
“If you know the answer, fill us in,” he said.
Northern United will look to continue their late-season surge when they host the wounded Mullumbimby Giants at Crozier Field, Lismore.
United has rattled off seven wins in a row and would book themselves a spot in the finals should they roll the Giants.
Cudgen can also secure a place in the finals by beating the Mustangs at Murwillumbah.
The match doubles as a newly initiated Charity Shield to be played between the two clubs to honour Mustang Matt Goodfellow’s mother, who this year lost her battle with cancer.
The Grafton Rhinos need to beat Lower Clarence to keep their finals dream alive.
The pair clash at the Maclean Showground.
The Magpies are still searching for their first win of 2010.
This match kicks off at 1.30pm. All others tomorrow start at 2.45pm.