Uphill task for Ballina v premiers
BALLINA is coming off two significant losses in FNC hockey and things will not get any easier for them when they play premiers Waratahs in Lismore.
Ballina has skills across the paddock and they will need plenty of it against the tournament favourites.
The seaside team missed the up-front skills of Jake Baldry last round.
Baldry, in combination with Davis are the keys to Ballina getting on top of the premiership team.
Waratahs are still the form side and captain Tim Willis has the team in a positive frame of mind.
His midfield skills in looking to find Guest on the left side will keep Ballina’s defence in overtime.
Also in Lismore, Star hosts Redbacks and there are two games at Murwillumbah with Kingscliff hosting East Lismore and United playing Coraki.
Redbacks will be keen to gain some face after their 12-1 drubbing to Coraki last week.
Star is also in great form and starting to play as well as they finished last season (premiers in the local competition).
Star will be without best player and key play maker Brad Hassett on leave and key striker Ryan McGuiness who is out with injury.
Stars’ defence led by Aaron Head (recently selected in NSW Open Country Team) will match any attack that Redbacks will provide.
Carter, McGuiness and McPherson will also keep the Redbacks’ defence stretched.
East Lismore, coming off a loss against United has made some key changes and will have a new look side against Kingscliff.
Easts started the season slowly but have picked up their game in recent weeks and look the better side over their coast rivals.
Easts’ Ray Rodda is having his last game with the club before transferring to Tasmania and his club will be keen to send him off on a winning note.
Kingscliff are an aggressive and skilled team with the ability to trouble all sides.
United will struggle against an in-form Coraki outfit that in their last two games has scored 15 goals to just one conceded.
Coraki’s Zach Clarke at 16 years old is becoming a respected striker with a plethora of goals to his name so far this season.
David Brown back in the top grade is creating problems for all defences and his ability to hold possession and find players in the open is giving Coraki an advantage lacked by most other clubs.
United did well last round to beat East Lismore and they will be looking to continue that form in this match.
Ballina will have their work cut out in the 1.30pm game in Lismore against a fast-paced Casuarina side.
Casuarina outclassed Northern Star last week and Ballina will need to look to their strong defensive unit to contain former Hockeyroo, Kim Tuckwell.
In the 2.55pm match, Star takes on Mullumbimby which drew against Glee last weekend.
Star has been running hot and cold, but if they manage to unite in attack they will worry the Mullum defence.
Easts travel to Murwillumbah this week to play a strong Waratahs team.
Easts’ form will be tested against the slick Waratahs unit, but coming off a solid win over Kingscliff last weekend, they will be brimming with confidence.
Glee meets Kingscliff in the other game at Murwillumbah. Both teams have struggled to find form of late.