Fierce rivals go at it
HIGH emotion, grudge match, fierce rivalry – call it what you will but today’s possible grand final preview between Lennox Head and Lismore City at Williams Reserve in Coopers Far North Coast Rugby Union will definitely have an edge.
The two teams have developed a fierce rivalry since 2009 when they played in some heated clashes on the way to the Trojans winning that year’s grand final over the Greens.
Cards, judiciary hearings and suspensions have become common place after Lennox-Lismore encounters.
Adding to the emotion of the afternoon will be the comeback match of Trojans fullback Paul Crozier.
Crozier just wants to get time back on the field after serving a six-week suspension for a dangerous lifting tackle.
Ironically, this was carried out against the Greens in his team’s only loss of the season – a 15-0 away defeat to the Lismore City on June 11.
In extraordinary circumstances, Crozier was allowed to play the following Saturday against Ballina before fronting the judiciary and receiving his suspension sentence.
Judiciary chairman Guy Latham said at the time legal issues had to be taken into account before the board convened and this sparked an outcry from Trojans officials.
Crozier was disappointed with the way matters were handled.
“I think the (judiciary) process is a little flawed,” he said this week.
“I had to do my time – the tackle wasn’t great but the guy got up and I thought it was dealt with on the field.
“The judiciary saw it differently. I can’t wait to get back and play again.”
Greens’ player-coach Will Cotterill did not downplay the significance of this game and believes chinks are starting to appear in the armour of the reigning premiers.
“It’s our biggest game of the year so far,” he said.
“Lennox Head are still a very good team but I don’t think they’re as good as the team they were last year.
“They know now if anyone can beat them, it’s us. My first game against them three years ago was brutal – there were eight cards handed out in total.
“Over the last couple of years it’s settled into a respectful rivalry – both sides play hard but in good spirits and I’m hoping for the same in this game.”
Casino will blood two under-19 players in their match against Ballina Seahorses now that they are out of finals contention.
Reece Manning and Nick Ford will get a run in first grade for the Bulls.
The Seahorses will look to again to be strong in the scrums before spinning the ball wide and playing some exciting running rugby as they did in their win against Wollongbar Alstonville Pioneers last Saturday.
And the Pioneers will need to have their heads switched on in their away clash against Grafton despite the Redmen sitting in second-last place.
“It’s always a very tough trip,” Pioneers coach Ben Grayndler said.
“We lost 32-26 to them down there in round one.
“On paper I think we have the better side but after an hour-and-a-half bus trip down there the boys can switch off.”