Blast from past - Boys from the Bay face league legends
By STEVE SPINKS
IMAGINE some local first grade rugby league players coming up against the likes of Gorden Tallis, Mark Geyer, Robbie O'Davis, Cliff Lyons, Tim Brasher or Phil Blake.
Sounds like a recipe for a slaughter.
However, if you make the game seven-a-side and remember the locals are known speedsters, all of a sudden you have a game on your hands.
That's what's happening this weekend when Byron Bay Rugby League Club competes in the Orara Valley Axeman International Sevens tournament at Coramba, near Coffs Harbour.
Teams lining up include the Barbarians ? a side including Mark (Spud) Carroll, Geyer, Lyons, Brasher, Blake, Tallis and a host of other former National Rugby League stars.
Another high profile team is the North Sydney Old Boys, with ageing Bears Greg Florimo, Billy Moore, Matt Seers and Ben Ikin, among others.
There are also international teams from Fiji and the USA Tomahawks
A new-look Byron team will use the Sevens as their first hit-out for the year and coach Arthur Sauverain is looking forward to the experience.
"The team that's going down is pretty handy," Sauverain said.
"My blokes reckon they'll be the ones signing autographs after the game."
The Red Devils will be led by exciting speedsters Noel and Chris King.
Also making a return to Byron's colours this year is five-eighth Brenton Cochrane.
Cochrane has just returned to the area after a year with the Toowoomba Clydesdales, the Brisbane Broncos feeder club.
New signings Rick Oxley (Mullumbimby) and Terry Moran will also have a run.
"It will be a good opportunity for me to be able to see some blokes play footy and have some fun," Sauverain said.
Asked if Byron were planning on walking away with a slice of the $15,000 prizemoney, Sauverain displayed a neat sidestep.
"We're not even entertaining that," he laughed.
Byron are in the same pool as Fiji A, Orara Valley Gold and the Grafton Ghosts, so to come up against the big names they will need to progress to the finals on Sunday.
Other teams competing include the Coogee Dolphins, a Lebanese-Australian team and a Maltese-Australian team, including Mario Fenech.
Movie star and Coramba local, Russell Crowe, has underwritten the event for the Orara club.
Byron Bay start their regular club training on February 1 at Red Devil Park.