Rams roll out foreign roster
ALL but one game in the opening round of Football Far North Coast Tursa Anzac Cup soccer last weekend was washed out, and rain is again threatening the three second-round games set down for tomorrow.
If grounds are open, Byron Bay will meet newly promoted Pottsville on the Panthers’ home turf, 2009 Anzac Cup finalists Lismore Thistles will host Goonellabah, and Ballina will take on Lismore Workers at Ballina.
All games kick off at 4.30pm.
Byron Bay picked up a point from their 1-all draw with Ballina in the only game that went ahead last weekend and with several of their new overseas players cleared to play tomorrow, the Rams will look to add to their tally with a win over Pottsville.
Irishman Greg McDonnell will make his debut in central defence alongside Ian Lennie, while West Indian Bruce Knaggs will move into midfield.
Sam Owens also comes back into the side to partner up front towering Sudanese striker Gabriel Thoingkol, who was previously with Workers.
Pottsville will be without defender Arron Lee and will have to wait until the premiership starts before midfielder Brett McMahon rejoins the squad, but the Panthers have been working hard on fitness and will be looking to make an impact.
Player-coach David Lonie will be a key figure in the hole behind the strikers, but is taking a cautious approach.
“We’ll be working hard on getting our defence right and trying to play possession football as much as possible, without getting caught out pressing too far forward,” he said.
Suspensions and injury have decimated Ballina to the point that they will probably have to call on a field player to go in goals for their home clash with Workers.
With seven of their squad of 20 unavailable, Ballina will have just two players on the bench.
First choice goalkeeper Chris Jones is still waiting on a clear-ance and work duties have ruled out replacement Trent Corrigan, leaving new coach Rod Troughton with a real problem.
Experienced striker Troy Percival is serving a suspension from last season, as are three of their players from the Summer Youth League, Jake O’Grady, Dylan Monnox and Luke Martine.
New signing from Lennox Head Andrew Lundie is also out injured, giving Workers a golden opportunity to capitalise against the badly depleted Seahorses.
Goonellabah will run on just four of the side that contested the grand final last year when they take on Thistles.
More players are returning over the coming weeks, but the Hornets have plenty of depth to trial in the meantime and will still start favourites against the Blues, who will be missing Jake Nind and Jacob Spears.
The game between Alstonville and Richmond Rovers set down for Crawford Park, Alstonville, last night was postponed until Monday at 8pm.