Rams and Rovers tonight clash in soccer decider at Lismore

BYRON Bay's powerhouse lineup will look to secure consecutive major premiership titles when they take on Richmond Rovers in the grand final of Football Far North Coast premier league at Oakes Oval tonight.

The reigning champions have already won the minor premiership, setting up the chance of the premiership double as well.

While the Rams have won the title on just three occasions, 2005-06 and last year, Rovers have 13 to their credit and their current team is vastly experienced.

Rovers appeared in seven consecutive grand finals until missing out last year and will not be fazed by the occasion.

But they will need to improve on their 4-1 loss to Byron in the major semi just 10 days ago, when the Rams four-man midfield was able to call the shots against a Rovers side playing three in the middle.

The Rams central duo of combative Brazilian Herrick Schuleman and talented Irishman Barry Woods is flanked by Kazi Tsukamato and Michael Kelly.

KEY PLAYER: Barry Woods (pictured) will be a key man for Byron Bay as they look to win back-to-back premierships against Richmond Rovers tonight.
KEY PLAYER: Barry Woods (pictured) will be a key man for Byron Bay as they look to win back-to-back premierships against Richmond Rovers tonight. Greg Meek

Their ability to push forward and join strikers Connor Cannon and James Tomlinson gives the Rams plenty of scoring options and they will start as firm favourites.

"We don't mind the tag, but anything can happen in a grand final," said Rams coach Damon Bell.

"Rovers certainly deserve to be there, they finished second and have beaten Thistles and Workers in the semis, so we know the danger they pose.

"We'll need to be a little conservative early on, but once we settle down we'll get on with our usual game plan.

"We'll need to keep an eye on Jonathan See who can get between the lines, but we've worked on a strategy for that."

After winning the Golden Boot, a grand final win would cap a fine year for See, but his fellow strikers Andrew Gray and Andrew Casagrande will also need to be contained by the Rams defence, led by captain Shaun Packham.

Rovers captain Russell Dent will also be a key figure in midfield, where his experience and class will have a settling influence.

A former team mate will also be in the spotlight, with former Rovers 'keeper Chris Jones now between the sticks for the Rams, and likely to receive some verbal barbs to try and unsettle him.

While Byron looks the better side on paper, Rovers trump card is their fighting spirit which will ensure a high intensity contest likely to be in the balance right to the end.

Kick off is 7pm.

In a testament to both sides depth, Rovers and Byron will also fight out the reserve division grand final at 4.15pm.

Rovers have traditionally dominated in reserves, winning 10 straight deciders until missing out on the grand final last year, when Thistles beat Byron.

While Rovers will look to pick up where they left off with yet another title, the Rams are looking to break the ice for their first major premiership in the division.

With the minor premiership already under their belt Rovers will be favoured to take the double, but the Rams have momentum on their side after coming from fifth place by winning three sudden death semis.

Rovers will also feature in the first division grand final, when they meet minor premiers Casino at 2pm.

Action starts at noon with the second division grand final, when minor premiers Suffolk Park takes on Thistles.



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