Brothers' prodigal son makes welcome return

STEVE SPINKS

MARIST Brothers coach David Krause is glad prodigal son Bede McPherson returned to the Rams this season as his team prepares for tomorrow's grudge match with Kyogle at Oakes Oval, Lismore, in round 14 of the Retravision Northern League.

McPherson, who was a Brothers junior, has had successful stints at Lismore Workers and Casino but has returned to his Brethren this season.

Krause is thankful especially as he's had a number of injuries and absentees in his star-studded forward pack with Brett Spears, Simon Andrews and Des Maher all out.

"He's got a good motor and he keeps going," Krause said. "He's been really good for us this season at lock or second-row. We've also got a big forward pack, so it's good to have a bloke who can play a lot of minutes without a rest."

McPherson and his team-mates will have their work cut out for them against a Turkeys side desperate for a win, especially against the old enemy. Grafton's struggles

AS well as the grudge matches, it's the teams that aren't playing this weekend that will be the talk of round 14.

South Grafton and Grafton are both at the centre of problems.

The once proud Rebels, who were contesting grand finals and semi-finals only a few years ago, will not be fielding any sides against Mullumbimby at Les Donnelly Field.

And the Ghosts, premiers in 2002, will not field a reserve grade side against the Ballina Seagulls at Ballina on Sunday due to a lack of numbers.

Mullumbimby club secretary Steve Butler is one whose patience is wearing thin with the unreliability of the Grafton clubs.

"They pulled the pin on Thursday," Butler said yesterday. "We had an idea that they would struggle but it's annoying for us.

"We would have been chasing to improve our for and against, an opportunity other clubs have got, plus we miss out on another home game."

The Rebels languish at the bottom of the table and have been thrashed by numerous teams including Marist Brothers 104-6 in recent weeks.

The Ghosts, who are still competitive in first grade, are just simply starting to run out of players as the season's grind takes its toll. As a result, Under-18s start at 1pm with first grade kicking off at 2.30pm.

Meanwhile, Casino head to Les Berger Field, Cabarita, to take on the third-placed Tweed Coast Raiders. Chris McGrath's forward pack will need to be up to the test if the Cougars are to prevail. In the other match, Murwillumbah host South Tweed.



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