Marist Brothers to host Casino
TONIGHT’S the night Marist Brothers host Casino in the final round of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season and everything goes on the line.
The magic number is 41.
The Rams have a for-and-against record 41 points inferior to that of the Grafton Rhinos (which plays Grafton Ghosts on Sunday), which must be overturned for the Lismore club to progress to the finals.
Between the sixth-placed Rams and their return to the top five are Kiwi wrecking balls Sefa Silafau and Jake Ngauomo.
At an estimated combined weight of 230kg, these two are a fearsome sight and Brothers coach David Krause knows it.
“They are real big humans and they take a power of stopping,” Krause said.
“By all reports they tore Rhinos to bits last week – and coming up against Brothers in their last game of the season they are sure to come out rampaging.
“We will be giving them full respect.”
Krause’s men have gone back to the textbook for the secret to stopping the Kiwi freight trains.
“When we met them in the first round a few of our big-hitters changed their style and went low to stop them,” Krause said.
It worked then – Brothers prevailed 36-16 – and the men in blue and yellow will be hoping it works again.
Commissioned as the giant-killers are the relatively pocket-sized Jack Woods and Rod McFarlane.
At about 80kg (Woods) and 90kg (McFarlane), they are hardly hit-men but Krause has all faith in his terriers.
“I haven’t met a more courageous player than Woodsy,” he said.
“Some of the places he puts his head, others wouldn’t put their feet. And Roddy is always the man for the job – whatever the job.”
The Rams will walk a fine line between all-out attack and protecting their try-line.
While they need to rack up a decent score on the Cougars, each try they let in is another they must score.
But the ace in the pack when it comes to attack is the bullocking Leon King.
The Northern United defector has been moved to lock for the clash tonight after hitting his straps in recent weeks.
A try he scored against the Ghosts defied belief. King outmuscled the forwards then outsprinted the backs for a 50-metre solo four-pointer that left Krause in awe.
“We will certainly be looking for that killer instinct from Leon again,” he said.
“When he runs the ball he is a real sight – I know I wouldn’t like to be in front of him.”
All will be revealed from 8.30 tonight when Brothers and Casino clash at Crozier Field, Lismore.
MARIST BROTHERS: Fullback, Mook Harrington; wingers, Lawrence Mercy, Jake Walker; centres, Brendan Brooke, Dylan Coleman; five-eighth, Jack Durheim; half, Joel McCafferty; props, Darryl Butcher, Simon Andrews; hooker, Jack Woods; second-row, Luke Pettit, Rod McFarlane; lock, Leon King; bench, Noel King.
CASINO (likely) Fullback, Shaun Piccoli; wingers, Ben Birney, Brent Scott-Hall; centres, Damien Benn, Todd Johnson; five-eighth, Matt Roberts (c); half, James Hammond; props, Chad Pearce, Jake Ngauomo; hooker, James Barker; second-row, Sefa Silafau, Scott Maroney; lock, Caleb McIntyre.