Seagulls chase the cash

YOU wouldn’t think a young Ballina Seagulls outfit would need much more motivation than taking on a couple of former NRL players today.

But ahead of their second-round NRRRL Charity Shield clash, a further carrot has been dangled.

If the Seagulls can get past a Cudgen side led by Craig Field and Matt Seers, and into the Charity Shield final, the players will be eligible for 50 per cent of the prizemoney the club stands to score.

And with $10,000 up for grabs, it’s fair incentive.

Ballina is one of three local clubs still with a chance to take the lion’s share of the pre-season kitty.

The others are Northern United and Kyogle.

Ballina will travel to Cudgen to take on the Hornets and their NRL cohort of two who have 370 top-grade games between them.

And while the inaugural Charity Shield provides the dollar sign carrot, Ballina football manager Max Beecher said the club was enjoying the flow-on effects.

“We are working towards the start of the premiership, of course,” Beecher said.

“But the bonus of the Charity Shield is that it encourages all the players to get their combinations working early.”

With clubs keen to grab the cash, the quality of the pre-season games and then the opening rounds of the premiership should be at a premium compared with previous years.

“Our squad is really starting to gel and although we have a couple to come back from injuries we should be where we want to be by round one,” Beecher said.

Northern United, the beaten grand finalists last year, also play an away game against the Red Devils at Byron Bay tomorrow.

The Red Devils will be stinging after a two-point loss to Murwill-umbah but the Dirawongs have plenty to play for as they are still in with a chance to finish on top and host the Charity Shield finals.

Kyogle make a tough trip south today to take on a powerful Grafton Ghosts side led by former Newcastle Knight Danny Wicks.

Wicks was outstanding in his club’s first-round win over Evans Head, so Don Walker and his men will need to be at their best to remain in the hunt for the shield.

In other games, Casino RSM host Grafton Rhinos today; Marist Brothers look for their first win at home against Tweed Coast tomorrow; and Evans Head travel south to challenge NRRRL premiers Lower Clarence, also tomorrow.

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