Rams to overcome no games for month
BYRON Bay will need to shrug off the effects of a one-month layoff and quickly find its top form if the Rams are to overcome Lismore Workers' much vaunted line-up in Football FNC's Anzac Cup final at Oakes Oval tonight.
All three of the Rams' scheduled premiership matches have been washed out, leaving them without a game since beating Lismore Thistles 3-0 in the cup semi more than a month ago.
"There's no doubt it's going to affect us.
"We've been training as best we can but it's no substitute for match fitness," Rams coach Peter Ware said.
"It's a bit of a new-look side, but we did the lighthouse run together and the boys are socialising and bonding, so they're ready to produce a big game. They want the cup."
Both sides are expected to be at full strength and like to play a fast-paced, attacking game, but with the centre of Oakes Oval certain to be heavy going, they could look to exploit the drier ground on the flanks.
If that occurs, pacy Rams flankers Sam Owens and Tim Knight look set for an intriguing battle with Workers lightning-fast German Martin Kelleher and the clever Brazilian Vinicius Leite.
Both sides will play a single striker, Wayne Mortimer for Workers and Tom Ruhl for the Rams, but are sure to push numbers forward when in possession.
Experienced central midfielders Aaron Richter Steers and Victor Pires are also expected to play key roles for the Rams, as they look for dominance over Workers' classy combination of Kurt Walker and Clint Willoughby.
With important personal duels all over the paddock and both sides having plenty of recognised goal scorers, it looms as one of the most unpredictable finals in years.
Workers coach Scott Collis is wary of the Rams threat.
"We've attracted a bit of attention with our new signings, but Byron has a very solid side that remains undefeated and has flown under the radar a bit," Collis said.
"And with the same coach that took them to their last title back at the helm again, we know we'll have to be at our best."
Workers last won the cup 11 years ago, but whichever side wins tonight, it will mark the end of a five-year era dominated by Richmond Rovers and Goonellabah.
Between them, the two big Lismore clubs have won all 14 Anzac Cup and premiership titles on offer for the past five years, ever since the Rams last won the cup in 2007.
The match kicks off at 7pm.
The Open A and B men's matches have been postponed.
The women's B game, between Mullumbimby-Brunswick and Italo Stars, will be played today, from 12.30pm on Crozier Field.