Marauding Byron Bay Rams full-back Jonathan Pierce (left) takes on Lismore Workers defender Jamie Hill during the men's premier division clash. Photo Stuart Turner / The Northern Star
Marauding Byron Bay Rams full-back Jonathan Pierce (left) takes on Lismore Workers defender Jamie Hill during the men's premier division clash. Photo Stuart Turner / The Northern Star Stuart Turner

Rams need to get their mojo back

IN-FORM Richmond Rovers will take on a Byron Bay side experimenting with a new attacking line-up in the sudden-death minor semi-final of Far North Coast premier league soccer.

The game will be played at Byron Bay tonight, kicking off at 7pm.

Rovers' vast semi-final experience was evident last week as they eliminated Bangalow with a 2-0 win, their sixth in a row.

In contrast, Byron has lost its past two games without scoring a goal and has also lost two of its best attacking players in Bruce Morhaus and Todd Knauss.

Their absence has prompted Rams coach Damon Bell to push James Tomlinson forward into a striking role.

Tomlinson, previously a defender, has done well since moving into midfield this season and will now move up front for the first time.

"He's big, quick and strong in the air, has a good touch and can hold the ball up, so I'm confident he can do the job," Bell said.

"Part of his role will be to try to shut down their sweeper Mitchell Flower, who generates a lot of their counter-attack."

But the Rams' real danger man will be Golden Boot winner Seb Bell, who will lurk just behind Tomlinson looking to find space.

Sam Owens and Lachlan Dewar give the Rams speed on the flanks, but they will need it against Rovers' Jonathan See and Andrew Casagrande.

"We have to look out for Bell, and they have a strong backline, so we'll need to control the ball as much as possible, be patient and take our chances when they come," Rovers coach Matthew Olley said.

"But it's do or die now so there'll be no holding back.

"It will be a tough physical battle as well as a football battle."

Along with Flower, Rovers' seasoned midfield pair of Russell Dent and Brett Lane will be pivotal as they take on the Rams' Tom Inoue and Herrick Schulaman.

The winner tonight will have the chance to secure a grand final berth when they play the preliminary final next week against the loser of the major semi-final tomorrow between Thistles and Workers.



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