Muir back in action for Dolphins
FAR North Coast rugby union second-rower Mick Muir is a player determined to go out on his own terms.
The 32-year-old's career looked all but over midway through last season when he did ligament and soft tissue damage to his neck in a team run at training.
However, Muir is confident enough to step back on the paddock for the first time when the FNC Dolphins take on the Central Coast in the first round of the NSW Country Rugby Union Championships at Crozier Field, Lismore this afternoon.
"It is a bit of a risk and I've been told I'm mad," Muir said.
"It was looking like I wasn't going to be able to play again but I want to go out on my own terms.
"The neck feels fine and I'm more worried about the elbow operation I'm having next month.
"But having this as my first game back will be interesting.
"I feel like I'm jumping into a pool full of great white sharks."
Muir is confident they can get past Central Coast to advance into the top four that will contest the prestigious Caldwell Cup next weekend.
"We'll push them and experience will be the backbone for us," he said.
"Guys like me and Jamie (Tredinnick) are getting on a bit in age but our team has almost turned into another little club, so it's been awesome."
NSW Country No.8 and Dolphins captain Jeff Wilson says it's be a mixed preparation so far.
"We've had a few injuries and blokes unavailable, but we're ready for them," Wilson said.
"They're a big pack and we're going to have to weather the storm early and then hit-back hard."
Central Coast boasts a strong forward pack with former NSW Country representatives Peter Steele, Adam Winter and Shannon Beavan.
However, coach Scott Bath believes they also have the backline to beat anyone in the competition.
"We have more balance in the backline this year and it's probably stronger than what we had last year," he said.
"We're under no illusions and we're expecting a tough contest.
"It's like a grand final for us because we don't want to lose and play in the bottom half of the draw next weekend."
The Dolphins have some injury concerns with prop Syd Etuati in doubt with an ankle injury.
They will rely heavily on centre Sam Stewart and 17-year-old five-eighth Jake McIntyre to steer the ship.
They also have Canadian flanker Kyle Gilmore at their disposal.
Gilmore will play for the Lennox Head Trojans this season and was close to making the Canadian National team last year.
"Rugby is like a game of chess these days and we'll have to play smart to beat these guys," Wilson said.
Kick-off is at 4pm with the colts at 2pm and entry is free.