Grant Knight on the run for Far North Coast at the NSW Country rugby union championships last year.
Grant Knight on the run for Far North Coast at the NSW Country rugby union championships last year. Vicki Kerry

Dolphins to test the rugby waters

A NEW-look Far North Coast Dolphins will contest the New South Wales Country Rugby Union Championships at Warren this weekend.

Only two players that were part of last years campaign are back with seven players coming from competition leaders Bangalow.

Flankers Ryan Biscoe and Daniel Rollinson will be joined by centre Tom Slater, second-rower Darcy Hilton, winger Vincent young and front-rowers Saw Rawsthorne and Simeli Miranalasekula.

Casuarina coach Adam Leach has taken over from John Jenkins while Ben Damen returns to the fold having made the NSW Country team last season before injury cut his time short.

Five-eighth Grant Knight and winger Mitchell Krause both made the NSW Country Cockatoos in 2017 but are unavailable.

Knight played in trial games in the lead up but had to pull out due to work commitments while Krause has returned to rugby league.

FNC will be looking to go one better after making the final of the second tier Richardson Shield competition last year.

"We've got pretty much everyone on board that we wanted apart from a couple of guys,” Leach said.

"It would be great if we had them but it gives someone else a chance to get noticed now.

"We're the top seed in our section and I believe we can definitely win it with this team.

"Our core group of players are from Ballina and Bangalow and it's a pretty young side.”

Some players like front-rower Sam Pearce are getting their first taste of competition in the top team while experienced Byron Bay No 8 Dru Baggaley comes in after a bumper 2017.

Halfback Vinnie Roberts has played in the Queensland Premier competition in recent years while Damen will be the key man in the backline.

"Ben Damen has been around a while and he knows how to control a game,” Leach said.

"We have a really good forward pack and I think that will be our strength.”

The Dolphins play Central Coast at noon on Saturday and a win there would see them play the winner of North West Bushrangers and Western Plains on Sunday.

Far North Coast Dolphins: 1 Sam Pearce, 2 Daniel Heritage, 3 Isaac Pratten, 4 Darcy Hilton, 5 Aidan Edwards, 6 Daniel Rollinson, 7 Ryan Biscoe, 8 Dru Baggaley, 9 Vinnie Quigley, 10 Ben Damen, 11 Terry Ferguson, 12 Tom Slater, 13 Anthony Lolohea, 14 Vincent Young, 15 Nathan Nicholls. Bench: Sam Rawsthorne, Simeli Miranalaskula, Aniri Whewell, Brenden Williams and Louis Hollman. Coach: Adam Leach.



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