All-Lismore decider the first in 23 years

IT has been 23 years since East Lismore and Northern Star met in a Far North Coast A-grade men's hockey grand final. In 1986 Star won that match and the club's 2009 side will be hoping for the same.

The grand final today starts at 4.20pm.

Both sides play a similar style with short passing and plenty of transfers. Accuracy of passing will be the key as each side puts pressure on the ball carrier to force turnovers.

With Easts boasting speedsters Ryan Holding, Dan Riley, Michael Broadbent, Simon Mackney and Jamie Hetherington and proving they have the fitness to match it with anyone after the marathon last Saturday, Star will need to be at the top of their game.

Star settled in early in their semi-final and will look to strikers Mitch Carter, Matthew Harmon and Adam Grill to take advantage of any opportunities in the circle.

With Ryan McGuiness under an injury cloud, Star will rely on Scott Dunn and Dave Kelly to step up in defence.

Anthony Moss and Raymond Rodda have been reliable all year at the back for Easts and, with great support from midfielders Matt Currie, Jason Rodda and David Willis, they have been able to control the pace of the game.

Both sides will need to place their shots on goal perfectly with goalkeepers Aaron Head (Star) and Luke Kelso (Easts) in great form. Kelso made some spectacular saves last weekend.

Star have plenty of grand final experience and it will fall to Darryl Hughes, Brad Hassett and Thomas Vantaggiato to settle the team.

Four of Northern Star's A-graders had fathers in the 1986 team. Shaun McGuiness and John Vantaggiato will contest the B-grade grand final and Tim Hassett will no doubt be watching. For Easts, Mark Rodda, uncle to Raymond and Jason and a member of the 1986 East Lismore side, could be forgiven for feeling a little outnumbered.

A-grade: Sat 4.30pm Turf, Northern Star v East Lismore

Reserve grade: Sat 1.30pm Turf, Coraki v Northern Star

B-grade: Sat 12 noon Turf, East Lismore v Northern Star

C-grade: Sat 3pm Hepburn 2, Alstonville v North Lismore

MAJOR PREMIERS DOWN THE YEARS

2008 Northern Star, 2007 Northern Star, 2006 East Lismore, 2005 Ballina, 2004 Ballina, 2003 Ballina, 2002 Ballina, 2001 Coraki, 2000 East Lismore / Coraki.

1999 East Lismore, 1998 Ballina, 1997 Coraki, 1996 Coraki, 1995 Coraki, 1994 Coraki, 1993 Coraki, 1992 Coraki, 1991 Coraki, 1990 Coraki.

1989 East Lismore-Goonellabah / Coraki, 1988 East Lismore-Goonellabah, 1987 Coraki, 1986 Northern Star, 1985 Coraki, 1984 Coraki, 1983 Ballina, 1982 Coraki, 1981 Coraki, 1980 Northern Star.

1979 Coraki, 1978 Northern Star, 1977 East Lismore, 1976 Northern Star, 1975 Alstonville, 1974 Alstonville, 1973 Northern Star, 1972 East Lismore, 1971 Alstonville, 1970 Alstonville.

Glee aims for cloud nine

GLEE will be chasing their ninth consecutive grand final win when they take on Northern Star today at 3pm in the FNC A-grade women's hockey grand final.

Glee are undefeated in the local competition this season.

Star proved in the semi-final they could match it with the green machine, going goal for goal with the minor premiers in the first half.

With Katrina Phelps, Ashli Olive and Amanda West capable of doing damage in the circle and clean hitter Leanne Albertini taking the shots on penalty corners, Glee's Raechel Alback will be driving her defence hard to keep them on their toes.

Star have been consistent in defence with Albertini, Danni Seiffert and Erin McKenzie an effective unit. They have a big job to contain Glee strikers Cassie Douglas, Nic Danvers and Stacey Savins.

With Star's Mel Slade, Kate Marshall and Tracey Makings in the midfield contest against Glee's Megan Kendall, Jodie Danvers, Renee Dunstan and Kim Chappel, possession will mean everything.

While Glee will want to cut out Star's clearances from defence, Star will be hoping to shut down Glee's short passing game and starve their forwards of the ball. Glee's Emily Savins and Kelly Guest will look to provide the vital link between the midfield and the strikers.

Star will be looking for big games from wing halves Donna Gray and Abbie Stokes, both in defence and as support in attack.

With the temperature tipped to hit 30 degrees, fitness and strength off the bench may also be a factor. Both sides could struggle in the heat but Glee will lose little in substitutes with their full squad available.

A-grade: Sat 3pm Turf, Glee v Northern Star

Grass competitions:

B reserve: 1.30pm at Hepburn Park 1, Evans Head v Easts

C-grade: 1.30pm at Hepburn Park 2, Coraki v Byron Bay

MAJOR PREMIERS DOWN THE YEARS

2008 Glee, 2007 Glee, 2006 Glee, 2005 Glee, 2004 Glee, 2003 Glee, 2002 Glee, 2001 Glee, 2000 East Lismore, 1999 Glee, 1998 East Lismore, 1997 Northern Star / Glee, 1996 Ballina, 1995 Northern Star, 1994 Ballina, 1993 Glee, 1992 Northern Star, 1991 Glee, 1990 Oasis, 1989 Glee, 1988 Ballina, 1987 Ballina, 1986 Ballina.



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