Hornets defender James Lomlinson will be a key man for Goonellabah against the Lismore Thistles.
Hornets defender James Lomlinson will be a key man for Goonellabah against the Lismore Thistles.

Hornets out for third Anzac Cup

GOONELLABAH will start its campaign for a third consecutive Tursa Anzac Cup title with a re-match of last year's final against Lismore Thistles at Thistles Park tonight.

The 6.30pm blockbuster opening to Football FNC's new season will be a major test for the new-look Goonellabah side, which has lost the majority of players from the line-up that won the Anzac Cup and major premiership last year.

In comparison, the Blues are largely intact - apart from the loss of the Parrish brothers and Jonty Miller - and have looked sharp in trial matches.

Thistles have also picked up some handy late signings in former Bangalow players Joel and Dustin Rudgley, along with former Ballina and Byron Bay defender Ben Coulter.

Coach Paul Parmenter will be sticking with the attacking game plan that worked well for the Blues last year, led by pacy strikers Jake Nind and Nathan McCann.

"I'm happy with how we've played in our trial games and the boys are well-prepared and rearing to go," Parmenter said.

Hornets coach Mark Ambler will be hoping his new strike pairing of Dave Annetts and Batok Ring starts to gel, while also looking to blood his host of new players into their established patterns.

Alstonville hosts local rival Ballina from 7pm today.

The remaining three games will all be played on Sunday and loom as potentially lop-sided match-ups. Lismore Workers will start as massive favourites when they travel to Casino to take on the Cobras, who they thrashed 13-0 in a trial match two weeks ago.

Richmond Rovers likewise should account for newly promoted Lennox Head at Skenners Head, while Byron Bay is expected to take the points in its home clash with Italo Stars, who have been decimated by player losses.

All Sunday matches kick off at 4.30pm.



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