Dan finding his feet at Trojans
THE shackles will be off with Lennox Head set to unleash its strongest ball-running forward when No8 Dan Alley plays in the FNC rugby union grand final today.
Alley played Shute Shield in Sydney with the Manly Marlins for five years and was part of the team that made it as far as the preliminary final last year.
He took a sabbatical this year before arriving at the Trojans mid-season when he linked up with Lennox Head winger Marty McNamara, who he knew from Sydney.
He has since been travelling between Lennox Head and Sydney and could be the key with his big game experience.
"I think it took him a while to adapt to the our competition because he's obviously come from a really structured team,” Lennox Head coach Jason McCombie said.
"He understands the environment he's playing in now and you'll see a lot more running out of him.
"It looks like he's going to be a great long-term option for the club and he's looking at moving here next season.”
The Trojans will take the underdog tag into the game with only front-rower Curtis Miles, fullback Paul Crozier and McNamara left from the team that played in the 2014 grand final.
Second-rower Harry Bungate also played in that game under McCombie and has been in form in recent weeks but drops out of the side with a best friend's wedding today.
They still have a good mix and can win with centre Zac Beecher overcoming a groin injury while front-rower Matt Liddle and Crozier will leave nothing in the tank.
"It's been a two-year effort to get here with a change of personnel and our senior guys have really led the way,” McCombie said.
"We're still a young team and there is a small window for some of these guys to win a grand final together.
"There is a lot of talent in some of the juniors that have come in and I expect they'll move away and play at a higher level next year, which we encourage them to do.”
In other games today:
Lennox Head will take on Ballina in the reserve grade grand final. Fullback Billy Goldsmith will be the key man for the Trojans while Ballina will have more size up front with Callam Turner in the front row.
Evans Head is aiming for back-to-back premierships in President's Cup when it plays Yamba at noon.