Hockey's rebuilding year

ALSTONVILLE will be out to improve on their second-half form of last week when they take on Northern Star in Far North Coast men’s A-grade hockey at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, today.

Alstonville will be without Steve Law but will be strengthened by the return of Alex McKendrick from the Under-17 State championship and Sam Harvey from suspension.

With McKendrick and Harvey back and Troy Cooper finding his way after injury, things look good for the red-soilers.

With Todd Seymour directing from goals, Mitch Harley up front and Brodie Battese in between; Easts will have their hands full.

Easts produced a solid second half last round against Ballina.

Like a number of clubs, Easts are rebuilding, having lost A-grade players from last season.

These circumstances create opportunities for young blokes and it is great to see players such as Marcus Currie getting the chance to play in the top grade.

Marcus replaces his brother Matt as Easts’ centre-half.

Easts will look to go forward through Matt Rodda and Dan Riley with Chris Clark menacing as always in the goal circle.

At the back Jamie Hetherington, Jason Rodda and Luke Kelso will make it hard for Alstonville.

Ballina are also relying on youth and will need to be at their best against Coraki.

Ballina will be without some quality players in Neil Chaseling, Lou Morgan and Jake Baldry, so will call on youngsters like Callum Bryant and Toby Cronin.

These boys are not long out of juniors and Ballina’s best from last round, Tony Porter, will be glad to have them on the pitch.

Porter again needs to perform as he did last round if Ballina is to have a show in this game.

Danny Seymour will do all he can to keep Ballina in it from the cage and he will rely on the brilliance and unpredictability of Sam Davis and Nathan Fryer to keep Coraki’s Josh Ryan under the hammer at the other end.

Trent Brown will be missing from the Coraki line-up, but have youth as well in Mitchell and Lachlan Scotcher along with Zach Clark playing like seasoned A-graders in this their first full season in the top grade.

These youngsters are putting together some great phases to consistently find class players like Ben Moss and David Brown.

Former A-grade player Steve Kaehler picked up a hat-trick last Saturday playing for Alstonville C-grade on the grass at Ballina.

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