Men's hockey play-offs loom
YOU can sense the increasing urgency across all grades in Far North Coast men’s hockey with the four minor premierships there for the taking.
In A-grade, Northern Star has looked the team to beat all season but they are certainly not unbeatable, especially with their rivals catching up.
At Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, today, Coraki meet East Lismore at 1.30pm and Northern Star take on Ballina at 4.20pm in an important game for the seasiders.
The improving East Lismore will be out to cement its place in the semi-finals. It is now third, four points ahead of Ballina.
Easts have toughened up across the paddock and Dan Riley is in good touch, spearheading the attack.
Ryan Holding has been able to rejoin Easts after most of the season in the Brisbane competition and he enhances the side’s strike power and cover defence.
Goalkeeper Luke Kelso is having a great season and with Matt Rodda and Marcus Currie controlling the midfield, East Lismore has the team to test Coraki.
Coraki are in good touch and have it all to play for. They are in second spot, one point behind Star, and have every chance of going to the top and winning the minor premiership.
David Brown has been their key in attack all season and his midfield combination with brother Trent has been vital.
The much improved Ben Ward in midfield along with in-form strikers Mitchell Dunstan and Mitchell Scotcher and the return of Simon Brown puts Coraki in a great position.
In the other game, Northern Star will start strong favourites but Ballina’s ranks have been boosted, they are improving and will be fit after a week off.
Ballina will need to break down Star’s consistency for the 70 minutes. They will look to Lou Morgan and Nathan Fryer in midfield with Sam Davis in attack and Chaseling and Porter defending the fort.
Star will be at full strength and with plenty off the bench will be able to maintain the pressure.
Although the goals didn’t flow last round, they have all the strike power to make it happen with Carter, Vantaggiato, Waring and Harmon.
Star’s defence is generally difficult to penetrate and Darryl Hughes will be happy to turn the Ballina forwards around.
A-grade: Northern Star 20, Coraki 19, Alstonville 12, East Lismore 8, Ballina 4.
Reserve grade: Northern Star 41, Coraki 40, East Lismore 27, North Lismore 16, Alstonville 7, Ballina 7.
B-grade: Northern Star 32, East Lismore 31, Coraki 28 , North Lismore 19, Ballina 17, Summerlanders 5, Alstonville 3.
C-grade: Alstonville 32, Ballina 28, East Lismore 11, Northern Star 6.
FAR North Coast has another State representative.
Coraki Under-15 and A-grader Mitchell Scotcher has been selected in the NSW Under-15 team for the Australian championships at Launceston in October.