Can Casino RSM win another No 1 flag?
The glamour side of recent years in NRDBA pennants, Casino RSM, will be aiming for its fourth successive No1 premiership when the season starts tomorrow.
Until 2002 Casino RSM had never taken out the top title -? the field belonged almost exclusively to South Lismore and Lennox Head.
Over the past 18 years, South Lismore had won seven No1 flags and Lennox Head had six. The only other club to get a look-in was Alstonville with two.
Casino RSM's premiership in 2003, however, had a hollow ring to it ... that was the year NRDBA pennants had withdrawal symptoms with only three No1 sides left in the competition to play just four games.
In the opening round tomorrow, Alstonville will be out to topple the high-flying Casino side, while South Lismore will be up against Evans Head, and Ballina will meet East Lismore.
Alstonville finished second on the 2004 table on 31.5 points, half a point ahead of Ballina. But Casino RSM's untouchable 48.5 points gave no-one else a chance.
South Lismore managed to win only four of its 10 games last year, but finished fourth on 26 points.
The side will have to pull out all stops tomorrow to handle Evans Head, back in the top grade after slaughtering the opposition in No2s last year, ending the season a massive 20 points ahead of next best.
East Lismore returned to the top division with a flourish last year, won its first and last round convincingly but had a pretty dry spell in between.
The Easties will have to play well to get the points against the always-hard-to-beat Ballina (five wins last season).
Missing from the No1s this year is Lennox Head, the side that made the grade its own with five successive premierships from 1995 to 1999.
Wooden-spooners last year, Lennox Head has been dropped back to No2s and, desperate to regain some of its former glory, will face Lismore City first-up tomorrow.
Other No2 matches: Casino RSM v Ballina, South Lismore v Lismore Workers Heights.
Forty-seven clubs in eight grades (two No7s) will play in the competition this year.