Casino's team spirit
By STEVE SPINKS
CASINO will rely on a teenager in a key position when the Bulls take on Ballina at the Quays Reserve, Ballina, in a vital round 13 clash of the Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast rugby competition.
Shaun Makings will make his run-on first grade debut at flanker taking over from injured livewire breakaway Jarrad Cameron.
Cameron has been one of the Bulls' best this season, but he has an injured knee and coach Mick Russell decided to rest him.
"He's (Cameron) worth a couple of turnovers a game," Russell said.
"But you have to have faith in the other blokes to do the job.
"Shaun Makings is a good footballer and we've used him as a reserve before."
Makings has been filling in all over the Casino Under-19 team this season when numbers have been short.
He's started at five-eighth, centre or fullback, but it is in the backrow where he is best suited.
The lanky teenager will add height to the Bulls lineout.
Flanker is a position that you cannot hide in so it's sure to be a baptism of fire for Makings against the rugged Ballina eight.
Making the 19-year-old's debut even more important is that the Bulls need to keep on winning to stay on top of the table.
They lead Lismore by only three points, however, they do have a match in hand.
Casino have not won a minor premiership since 1994 when coach Mick Russell was captain and halfback.
"It's (minor premiership) certainly something that would be a nice little prize if we get there," Russell said.
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it.
"But it's not our major focus."
Casino and Ballina had a hard-fought first round match with the Bulls prevailing late.
Not much will be different this time round, but the extent to which Makings exerts his influence at the breakdown could decide the result.
One thing is for sure, Makings will know he's played a full game of first grade after battling the Seahorses backrow of Liam Preston, Danny Lickiss and Sonny Filimonehala.
BALLINA: 1 M Charter, 2 B Horan, 3 J Dokter, 4 D Baggaley, 5 N Williams, 6 D Lickiss, 7 L Preston, 8 S Filimonehala, 9 T Nichols, 10 M Greenhalgh, 11 Andrew Gordon, 12 L Moran, 13 M Wiggins, 14 K Scott, 15 A Gaiter. Coach: Karl Lupton.
CASINO: 1 P Batson, 2 J Mohammed, 3 T Llewellyn, 4 H Johnston, 5 M McCormack, 6 C Tahatu, 7 S Makings, 8 C Conte, 9 J Ruwhiu, 10 N Quirk, 11 R Randall, 12 J Lions, 13 T Gilmour, 14 S Lambeth, 15 C Lavelle. Coach: Mick Russell.