Marist Brothers to host Ballina
AFTER a week on the backburner the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League will scream back into life tonight when Marist Brothers host Ballina for the inaugural Denis Meaney Shield.
A fierce rivalry built through the late 1980s and early ’90s will be rekindled in this Round 7 clash which, for the first time, will honour Meaney – a statesman at both clubs.
Brothers’ coach David Krause has played for his club in four grand finals against Ballina and is using that experience to fire up his men.
“The rivalry is something that is instilled in me,” Krause said.
“Over the years it has been passed down from group to group and it is up to us to make sure this year’s crop know what they are playing for.”
And Krause will have some helpers as he looks to motivate his side. Prop Cameron Paine and centre Dylan Coleman have tasted the rivalry in grand finals which the clubs contested in 1992, ’93, ’97 and 2001.
“Those boys played through the toughest years of the rivalry so they have been into the youngsters and let them know what to expect,” Krause said.
Brothers and Ballina have started 2010 with five wins from six games to be equal second on the ladder.
But while the Rams have come out of the bye weekend fighting fit, the Seagulls, already missing back-rowers Dane Clarke and Scott McClelland, have been decimated by injury and unavailability.
Damaging prop Dean Ihalainen is out for the season with a knee injury; captain Ben Crawford will miss three weeks with shoulder ligament problems; his back-up at five-eighth, Dan Gibson, has a chipped elbow; centre Joel Roberts has strained a calf muscle; and interchange colossus Damian Sironen is away on rep duty.
But Krause, knowing the way these two teams love to hate each other, doesn’t think it will matter who pulls on the Seagulls jersey.
“They will turn up to play,” he said.
“It wouldn’t matter who took the field; they are being told the same stuff that we are, so it’s going to be on regardless of the line-ups.”