HELL BE THERE: Ballinas Brenton Cochrane in the grand final. Cochrane will play for Northern United in the Aboriginal Knockou
HELL BE THERE: Ballinas Brenton Cochrane in the grand final. Cochrane will play for Northern United in the Aboriginal Knockou

Leo tops the list

By STEVE SPINKS

FORMER Newcastle Knights halfback Leo Dynevor will headline the local Northern United team's bid to win the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival at Oakes Oval, Lismore, this weekend.

Dynevor, who has played for United at previous knockouts, has joined the team after winning the Wollongong grand final two weeks ago.

And the nuggetty half showed he still has what it takes by snapping a field goal to give his team the victory.

"Leo's been mixed up with us for a few years," coach Chris Binge said.

"The experience he brings to the team is appreciated by all the boys."

And with $38,000 prizemoney and hosting rights for next year's carnival up for grabs, you can see why Northern United are keen to field their strongest team possible.

"Basically we've drawn players from around the area and most of the players have been mixed up with finals footy," Binge said.

"We've had a good preparation training every day since the footy season has ended so fitness should not be a problem."

With Dynevor calling the shots in the halves, United will have a plethora of big attacking weapons roaming wide of the ruck with the likes of Brenton Cochrane, Ray Mercy, Tony Buchanan, Clarence Kelly, Justin Bolt, Evan Hickling and Willie Hammond all named in the squad.

The 25-man squad includes nine members of the Ballina Seagulls grade sides.

Ballina lost a heartbreaking grand final to Mullumbimby in first grade while reserve grade comfortably won the decider against Murwillumbah.

"We've been knocked out in the last four for the past three years," Binge said.

"We think with the tournament being up here it will obviously help us, along with the fact that most of the players are local."

"We're confident of doing well but in a competition with 38 teams we're not going to say we'll win it before a ball has been kicked."

Ballina lock Alwyn Roberts and former North Queensland Cowboy Ray Mercy will be co-captains for the carnival.

The senior men's tournament starts on Saturday with finals scheduled for Monday. Women's and junior football starts tomorrow.

Organisers would like to remind sports lovers on the Northern Rivers that non-Indigenous people are more than welcome to attend.

Northern United squad:

Brenton Cochrane, Tony Buchanan, Clarence Kelly, Terry Kelly Jnr, Willie Hammond, Les Roberts, Stevie Kelly, Alwyn Roberts, Ray Mercy, Buddy King, Djaan Jarrett, Grant Brown, Sione Tonga, Willo James, Justin Bolt, Ash Moran, Isaac Jacky, Dion Edwards, Evan Hickling, Leo Dynevor, Lance Tighe, Paul King, Peter Wenner, Darren Anderson, Leon Kelly. Coach: Chris Binge.



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