Field is for whom Bell tolls
ROY BELL and Craig Field have a few things in common.
Both scheming play-makers; both enigmatic; both wore the famous cardinal red and myrtle green of the South Sydney Rabbitohs; and both will lead their clubs into a battle for second spot in the NRRRL at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff, tomorrow.
Northern United and Cudgen are locked in second place on 22 competition points, and to say there is a bit on the line when they clash would be a gross understatement
When the final siren sounds one side will have earned two bites of the finals cherry and the right to host a qualifying semi-final against Ballina next weekend; barring a draw, the other will fall to fourth and face a sudden-death semi against either Grafton Rhinos orMarist Brothers.
At opposite ends of their careers, Bell, 25, and Field, 37, hold the key.
The Dirawongs have won nine from 12 since Bell returned to the club, and eight in a row since the diminutive destroyer was shifted from fullback to the halves.
But the match-up with Field’s Hornets comes as possibly United’s biggest challenge.
“He (Field) has got it all,” Bell said.
“I used to idolise him as a kid when he played for the Rabbitohs and his skills, running game and kicking game are still outstanding.”
Last time they met, Field engineered a final-minute try to steal victory 34-30 on United’s home turf.
Bell hasn’t forgotten.
“Our defence in the second half just fell apart and they tore us to bits,” he said.
“That is the area we need to improve and we should beat them this time.”
Bell is supremely confident about his team’s chances this weekend and in the finals.
“I reckon we have the right to be confident,” he said.
“Eight in a row and we are still getting better.”
While Bell in the No 6 jersey was the obvious element to finger as the catalyst for United’s charge, the man himself gives credit to the bloke on his inside, Evan Hickling, and his forwards.
“Evan is the general – he runs the show,” Bell said.
“I just play off him.
“And I reckon our forward pack is the most underrated in the competition.
“Apart from big Les Roberts it’s probably the smallest pack going around and they hold their own every week.”
While the forwards will be deployed to lay the platform, all signs point to Field or Bell providing the master-stroke that lands the match for their team.
Whether it is the master or the apprentice remains to be seen.
Kick-off is 2.45pm.