Cup on the line

THE oldest trophy in Far North Coast soccer will head for unfamiliar territory today when Ballina or Goonellabah take home the Anzac Cup following the final at Crozier Field, Lismore, from 3pm.

The cherished silverware has spent the past two years in the Byron Bay trophy cabinet, but is now destined to make either its first trip to Ballina or only its second to Goonellabah, where it spent one year back in 1983.

It looms as one of the best finals in years, with Ballina looking to complete unfinished business after losing the 2004 final and the Hornets out to make a statement after being promoted back to the premier ranks this season.

The seasiders had the heart-break of losing to a golden goal penalty in extra time of a sensational final last year, a memory they want to erase by holding the trophy aloft today.

The indicators are good for Ballina ? they remain the only undefeated side and have already had a win over the Hornets, downing them 3-2 in a highly-charged encounter in a Cup pool game.

The key for Ballina will be shutting down Goonellabah's deadly striking trio of Ben Andrews, Matthew Olley and Peter O'Neill.

To achieve that, defenders Rod Troughton and Dave Betteridge will need to mark tight while midfielders Cerys Hawkins and Christian Watson must stifle the supply of ball from midfield.

The Cup final will be preceded by the women's Callan McMillan Shield A division final between Byron Bay and Lismore Workers at 1pm and the Grade 16 Anzac Cup final featuring Richmond Rovers and Alstonville at 11.30am.

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