MAIN MAN: Brad Hughes may be the key to Northern Star's chances in the major semi-final against Coraki at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, today.
MAIN MAN: Brad Hughes may be the key to Northern Star's chances in the major semi-final against Coraki at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, today.

It's crunch time for Easts and Ballina

TODAY there are four, tomorrow there will be three after Far North Coast A-grade men's hockey semi- finals are played today.

East Lismore host Ballina in the sudden-death minor semi-final from 1.30pm then minor premiers Coraki take on Northern Star at 4.20pm in a major semi many regard as a grand final preview.

The minor semi-final opponents will have their own ideas about who plays in the grand final.

Both sides are capable of beating Coraki and Star but they have to make it happen.

Ballina have improved the most this season but didn't play to their ability last week against Star and will need to do better.

Basic errors and ball turnover cost them dearly and quality players such as the Arundel brothers, Davis, Palmer, Watson and Hamilton will need to step up.

Easts can match Ballina in all areas with some great skills.

Strikers Isaac Layton, Osborne and Smith are supported by mid- fielders Nick Layton and Dan Riley, with Currie and Kelso at the back.

Coraki will need to more than just turn up today.

Northern Star will be at full strength against Coraki for the first time in a while so whoever progresses directly to the grand final will have earned the privilege.

Brad Hughes can make the difference for Star - his ability to gain possession, maintain it then often score will have the Coraki team very aware.

Hughes has quality players around him and will find space and possession all game.

Coraki can match Hughes with Ethan White, who is equally as damaging in all facets.

White is a State Under-21 representative - a top level to play at - and he has been the most consistent player this year.

Around White there is plenty of pace and quality, and all players know what is required today.



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