Ben's goal is to kick straight
LISMORE City Greens halfback Ben Felicioni is fortunate he's been given the keys to Crozier Field and twice a week slips in there to take a few pot shots at goal.
It's a ritual that has paid off well this year for the sharp-shooter, who's amassed 102 points, which have all come off the boot.
His efforts are all the more remarkable considering it is his first fully-fledged season as the team's nominated goal-kicker.
“I always used to muck around at training kicking goals and when no one really put their hand up this year I thought I'd give it a shot,” he said.
“I'd never done it before, but I have practised a lot. I have the keys to Crozier Field and I go down there on Wednesday and Friday to practise my kicking.
“I usually take about 50 kicks and I start from straight in front at 20m and work my way out to 50m.”
Felicioni finished the home-and-away season as the competition's equal second highest scorer, but was well behind Ballina Seahorses' point-scoring machine Kane Scott on 115 points. He's a great admirer of his goal-kicking counterpart.
“I think he's scored a few more tries than me; I didn't get any this year, which was a bit disappointing,” he said.
“Kane always knows where he is kicking and he never seems to look like he is under pressure.”
But Scott said he would trade in all of his points and his place in this year's Far North Coast team of the year for a spot in the grand final.
“Sure, that was a nice pat on the back, but at this stage of my career I couldn't care less about those sort of personal things,” he said.
“It's really about the team and getting the team over the line, especially with me being captain.”
The Seahorses get their chance to go straight into the grand final when they host Lismore City in the major semi-final today at Quays Reserve, Ballina, from 3.30pm.
But given the Seahorses went on a 10-game winning streak to start the season, only to lose the last four heading into the finals, they are certainly no gimme.
They've made six changes to their starting line-up in a bid to stop the rot.
“We had to change something because we lost four games in a row,” Scott said.
“But for me, it is only a game of football. I don't get too caught up when we are going great and when we are not going great. It's not something that I sit at home and lose sleep over.
“I feel very positive about Saturday's game and I think we have a good chance. We've beaten most teams twice this year and we've only been beaten by them (Lismore) very narrowly.”
If Ballina can make the grand final, Scott feels fairly upbeat about the team's chances.
“I've never lost one,” he said.
“I've won five rugby grand finals and been successful in the past. But it probably means more for me to win one for those blokes that haven't won one, rather than myself.”