In-form Coraki look team to beat

THE in-form Coraki look the team to beat in Far North Coast A-grade men's hockey this season and will take on Northern Star today at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah.

The game hits off at 1.30pm, then Ballina will be fighting for a semi-final spot when they play Alstonville at 4.20pm.

Easts have the bye.

Coraki had a convincing win over Alstonville last weekend while Northern Star were looking just as strong in their match against Easts.

Coraki's Brown brothers, Simon and Trent, along with Adrian McGrath and Corey Thom-as have been in great form and when Mitch Dunstan and Brady Battese are added to the line-up Coraki will be hard to contain.

Strength in tackles has been a feature of the team's play this year and the young Star forward line will need to be strong on the ball to penetrate the Coraki defence.

Brad Hassett has been able to dominate the midfield in Northern Star's past few games but may not find as much room to move against Coraki.

Star forwards Thomas Vantaggiato, Ash Warring and Mitch Carter will need to take advantage of any scoring opportunities.

Ballina need a win to stay in the race for the semi-finals and Nathan Fryer's never-say-die attitude may be just what they need against an Alstonville team that has displayed commitment and discipline.

With semi-final positions possibly coming down to goal difference, Alstonville goalkeeper Todd Seymour will be keen to continue his great form and Ballina's Jake Baldry, Sam Davis and David Flanagan will be doing their utmost to convert any chances.

Battle for second spot

WITH Star, Ballina and Easts battling for second spot in the A-grade women's comp, the round today holds plenty of interest.

An in-form Northern Star will be chasing a win over Glee (5.45pm) and Ballina will not want to take Alstonville too lightly (2.55pm), although Alstonville are still chasing their first win of the season. Easts have the bye.

Alstonville have shown steady improvement this season but seem to lack confidence in the attacking 25.

The side has plenty of young talent, such as Jenna Lidbetter, Sarah Lidbetter, Marli Lopez-Hope and Kallie Seymour. They have endured a baptism of fire and with no on-field leadership from senior players, Alstonville have had to forge their own way.

Good performances late in the season could make a big difference to the club next year and they will be hoping to upset Ballina.

While Ballina are one of the hardest defensive units to crack, thanks to Vickie Morgan, Alison Porter and Amanda Moss, they have struggled to convert many scoring opportunities created out of midfield.

Porter, the captain, will hope her team gets hungry in front of goals and Kerrilee Brown has a great finish if given a chance, so Alstonville will need to mark up inside the circle.

Star come up against premiership leaders Glee. Star put in a great performance last weekend against Ballina and with Erin McKenzie back in form they will hope to strike early and contain Glee strikers Cassie Douglas, Nic Danvers and Kim Chappel.

Star will look to workhorse Tracey Makings to mark up tight on Chappel, and Mel Slade to win the midfield clash with Megan Kendall and Renee Dunstan.

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