Bell, Waters stuck up north
A WEAKENED Northern United almost pulled off a coup ahead of their visit to Evans Head today, but a last-minute application to have former stars Roy Bell and Fred Waters cleared to return for the Bombers clash in the NRRRL was vetoed by Queensland Cup club Norths Devils.
Bell and Waters, who were part of the Dirawongs’ stunning run to the grand final in their inaugural year, signed with the Devils for the 2010 season but are now looking to return home.
The Devils’ refusal to release them is a further blow to United, which may again be without injured leaders Alwyn Roberts and Willie Hammond.
Roberts, the captain, is still recovering from a rib cartilage injury sustained in the Northern Rivers Thunderbolts’ loss last Friday night but coach Chris Binge is confident in his replacement leadership group.
“Dave Fernando will lead from the front and there are plenty of other blokes out there with experience,” Binge said.
“I am pretty happy with the bunch of blokes we have.”
The Dirawongs’ mentor said his squad would need to pay special attention to the Bombers’ livewire halfback Anthony Robinson.
“I know Anthony’s game pretty well as he was with us last year,” Binge said. “I don’t see him as a specialist halfback, but he has the skills so you definitely have to keep an eye on him.”
The Bombers, still searching for their first win of 2010, have been able to name a side similar to that which went close against Byron Bay last weekend.
Corey Flaherty comes in to the back-row in place of Eddie Solomona, while rugby union convert LeLo Stavenow has been dropped to make way for Tony Kelly, who slots into the No 1 jersey, with Tom Martin switched to the wing.
Stavenow twice fumbled opportunities to win the match against the Bay, leading coach Damian Bryant to leave him out this week.
“LeLo will just have a run in reserves this week,” Bryant said.
“He hasn’t played a lot of league so we’ll just take him out of the pressure situation and let him work on a few things.”
Bryant’s men will again be shown the way by tireless prop Tim Tregidgo.
The match at Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head, starts at 2.45pm.