Byron Rams take on Richmond Rovers for a spot in Grand Final
MINOR premiers Byron Bay will be looking to book their place in a third consecutive grand final with a home win over Richmond Rovers, in the major semi final of Far North Coast premier league football tonight.
The Rams will be fresh after having 10 days to prepare, while Rovers are facing their third game in a week after some gruelling encounters with Workers and Thistles.
"Rovers always lift for the semis and we know we're in for a very tough game" said Rams coach Damon Bell.
Bell will have a full strength side with two notable exceptions, key defender Sam McIntyre and keeper Chris Jones are both suspended.
Theo Tavli will come up from reserves for McIntyre, while fourth division keeper Damien Smith has been plucked from obscurity and thrown in at the deep end.
Rovers will welcome talismanic midfielder Russell Dent back, after he missed their spirited 1-0 win over Workers on Saturday and after 12 straight wins, Rovers are the form side of the competition.
But Byron has some quality players capable of bringing their run to an end.
Captain Shaun Packham leads a solid defence and strikers Connor Cannon and James Tomlinson are both capable of being match winners.
But it is the Rams midfield that has been behind their success this year, where the strength and skills of Kazi Tsukamato, Barry Woods, Michael Kelly and Herrick Schulaman could be the key.
Kick off is 7.30pm.
While the winner will be the first side into the decider, the loser will have a second chance against the winner of tonight's minor semi-final between Workers and Thistles.
Workers have the home advantage and with the season over for the loser, both will be throwing everything into what looms as a torrid encounter.
While Thistles will be buoyed by their narrow win over Alstonville in the elimination semi, the Redmen will need to regroup after their last gasp loss to Rovers on Saturday.
"It's going to be tough to get everyone up again so soon after the disappointment" said Workers coach Scott Collis.
"But we've got the side to do it, we just need to be aware of their speed down the flanks and try to keep Darren Beardow quiet in midfield".
Kick off is 6.30pm.