HARD TO HANDLE: Byron Bay forward Will Aisake, who coach Paul Jeffery says will be fired up for a big game against Wollongbar-Alstonville this afternoon.
HARD TO HANDLE: Byron Bay forward Will Aisake, who coach Paul Jeffery says will be fired up for a big game against Wollongbar-Alstonville this afternoon. Peter Moore

Ready for tempers to flare

EXPECT a physical battle with the likes of second-rower Will Aisake and No8 Dru Baggaley leading the way for Byron Bay against Wollongbar-Alstonville in Far North Coast rugby union.

There is no love lost between the sides and tempers could flare in the grand final rematch at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, today.

Byron Bay coach Paul Jeffery expects to cop plenty of stick from rival supporters after a surprise loss in the grand final last year.

"I'm sure there will be some heckling from their crowd reminding us that we lost the grand final last year,” Jeffery said.

"We've talked about it and I don't think it will worry our guys.

"Our team has changed dramatically since then and it will be completely different.

"Will Aisake will be up for a big game and Dru Baggley loves that physical confrontation as well.”

Byron Bay has six new faces since the grand final and still has a handful of players to return.

Jeffery said it had been a disrupted month with only one game and limited training due to the wet weather and field closures.

"Wollongbar are lucky that they've played more games and been able to train,” he said.

"They should have a bit more cohesion than us and they deserve to go in as favourites.

"Any team with Ben Damen and Sam Kerry in it will keep you on your toes, and they have points in them right across the park.

"But we're confident we have the depth to be competitive and I'm sure it will be a really good game.”

The Pioneers welcome back No8 Steve Mison, who is back after missing the first two rounds while finishing the cricket season.

In other games today:

Ballina has its first home game of the season against Lennox Head at Quays Reserve, Ballina.

Southern Cross University will host the Casino Bulls at Maurie Ryan Oval, Lismore.

Bangalow takes on Casuarina at Schultz Oval, Bangalow.

Lismore has the bye.



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