Attention turns to union awards
ROUND 14 of Far North Coast rugby union gives players one last chance to impress before the annual gongs are awarded tomorrow.
Today is the final round of the regular season and with the make-up of the final four decided, attention turns somewhat to the individual and team honours up for grabs.
The Northern Star understands that Casino centre and captain Luke Serone leads in the best-and-fairest points but one slip-up and he could be overhauled.
Ballina dynamo Luke Watling, barnstorming Lennox Head utility Harry Witt, and Lismore City duo Steven Hughes and Matt Bermingham are within striking distance should Serone falter when the Bulls take on the Seagulls at Quays Reserve, Ballina, today.
In other games this afternoon, second-placed Wollongbar-Alstonville travel south to face Grafton’s desperate Redmen, and in the match of the day Lismore host a Lennox Head outfit keen to cap the season with a win and remain unbeaten over the 14 rounds.
Trojans coach Paul Jeffrey said while an unbeaten record would be nice, his players were drawing inspiration from another source.
“Braidon Boniface announced his retirement on Thursday night and we want to do the right thing and send him out on a high,” Jeffrey said.
Boniface, who recently became a father, has been a standout in the Trojans’ all-conquering backline over the past two seasons but believes that family time has come.
Jeffrey will continue to rotate players – a policy which has already thrown up some happy headaches.
“Some blokes have really put their hands up and now I have three second-rowers, four wingers and six back-rowers who all deserve a spot,” he said. “It leaves us with that element of surprise up our sleeve.”
Meanwhile, the Pioneers, who led the competition for much of the year, remain a long-shot to grab the minor premiership.
Wollongbar would need Lismore to have a big win over Lennox Head and at the same time put the cleaners through Grafton.
But Grafton will be out for an upset to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
All games kick off at 3.15pm.
The Far North Coast awards lunch will be at St Josephs School, Alstonville, from noon tomorrow.
Lismore: 1 Matt Collins (c), 2 Stephen Prosser, 3 Neil Moran, 4 Craig Bryant, 5 Keith Morris, 6 Glen Paisley, 7 Dominic Morris, 8 Joe Akkersdyk, 9 Scott Lancaster, 10 Matt Bermingham, 11 Rory Richardson, 12 Chris Cotterill, 13 Greg Hughes, 14 Sam Flynn, 15 Ben Felicioni. Coach: Richard Hughes.
Lennox Head: 1 Matt Liddle, 2 Jamie Tredinnick, 3 Phil Tyler, 4 Jaysen Thompson, 5 Richard Jeffers, 6 Jeff Wilson, 7 Harry Bungate, 8 Daniel Watt, 9 Jo Witt, 10 Harry Witt, 11 Matt Aherne, 12 Adam Gordon, 13 Sam Stewart, 14 Tony Buchanan, 15 Paul Crozier. Coach: Paul Jeffrey.
Referee: Graham Cook.
Ballina: 1 Syd Etuati, 2 Joao Fernandes Costa, 3 Adam Thomas, 4 Brett McLennan, 5 Chris Long, 6 Andrew Burke, 7 Chad Duensing, 8 Liam Preston, 9 Troy Nichols, 10 Adam Fisher, 11 Ben Robinson, 12 Jamie Coote, 13 Ray Carriage, 14 Rick Randall, 15 Luke Watling. Coach: Mick McGregor.
Casino: 1 Reece Manning, 2 .Joe Mohammed, 3 Craig Connolly, 4 Sam Ziegenfusz, 5 Luke Cummins, 6 Justin Zaiko, 7 Jarrad Cameron, 8 Tim Gould, 9 Tim Cameron, 10 Lachlan Winkler, 11 Cale Berry, 12 Carl Tahatu, 13 Luke Serone (c), 14 Brenton Fuller, 15 Nathan Quirk. Coach: Darren Winkler.
Referee: Steve Williamson.
Grafton: 1 Chris Jackson, 2 Chris Owen, 3 Luke Deleiuen, 4 Nathan Cooper, 5 Nick Collie, 6 Tim Landrigan, 7 Brad Lloyd, 8 Ben Robertson, 9 John Morgan, 10 Trent Barber, 11 Scott Lloyd, 12 John Chevalley, 13 Shane Denshire, 14 Billy Hickson, 15 Brett Graham. Coach: Brett Graham.
Wollongbar-Alstonville: 1 James Nunn, 2 Gavin Short, 3 Kent Sharman, 4 Matt Scott (c), 5 Scott Burgess, 6 Shaun Ellis, 7 Jeremy Tozer, 8 Steven Mison, 9 Lachlan Crockett, 10 Ben Damen, 11 Shaun Fayter, 12 Arlo Cluff 13 Tim Perkins, 14 Adam Morris, 15 Jascha Saeck. Coach: Barry Carpenter.
Referee: Mick Melino.
Bye: Southern Cross University.