Red-soilers add new dimension
By JIM CHALLENOR
THE return of Alstonville to Far North Coast men's A-grade hockey for the first time since the mid-1990s highlights the opening of the 2005 season.
Club spokesman Terry Burnett said Alston-ville's aim was to promote hockey.
"Having a team in A-grade allows the club to support juniors by giving the kids somewhere to aim and progress," he said.
Alstonville face a baptism of fire against 2004 runners-up Coraki at 4.20pm today.
But with State CHS player Adrian Crispo leading the charge with fellow Alstonville juniors Daniel Lidbetter and Luke Emerson, others like Joe Beohm and Dean Roberts are sure to help keep the red-soilers competitive.
Coraki coach Dave Brown is confident of his team's chances this season after guiding the Blues to the grand final in his first year.
While Coraki will miss Sean Buckett (Canberra) and Michael Grande (Tamworth), Brown believes the reinvigorated Dave Bodley will help juniors such as Dwayne White fill the holes.
In the other match at 1.30pm, a decimated Northern Star take on the relatively stable East Lismore.
New coach Thomas Vantaggiato said Star had lost six of their starting line-up from last year, including State players Josh Hanley, Pete Forshaw, Crispo and 2004 captain Jye Reardon.
Easts spokesman Nathan Hughes said his club had lost Bob Barrett, Matt Moss and Matt Legge, but he was comfortable with the stability afforded by its junior development program.
Premiers Ballina have a bye in the first week.