Win or lose, Ray's all done
ALTHOUGH he's had about four previous retirements, Lismore City Greens rugby union back-rower Ray Taylor says the grand final against the Lennox Head Trojans today is DEFINITELY his last game.
The 40-year-old personal trainer said it was time to listen to his body, and his body was telling him to quit.
But he's been like a man on a mission this year, promising to play one more season after the Trojans knocked Lismore out at the preliminary final stage in Far North Coast rugby last year.
“I started the year (2008) running water and the club had a lot of injuries so I played a few lower-grade games and ended up in first grade,” Taylor said.
“We got beaten by Lennox in the final and I thought 'I can't end like this'. To play half a season and end it in the final just didn't feel right.
“Probably at the start of this year I decided that I would retire, and I've retired a few times, but my body is talking to me and my aim was to have one good final year.
“To get to a grand final would be a fitting way to end it.”
Taylor's clash with Jeff Wilson, his opposite number at Lennox Head, should be one of the highlights of the grand final at Crozier Field in Lismore.
Both players stand about 1.96m and play a pivotal role in winning their fair share of line-out ball and carving it up the middle.
“He's a great player,” Taylor said of Wilson. “I've had a bit to do with him in the Country squad and he's a lovely bloke, but on the field he is aggressive.
“He's a weapon for them and we'll have to keep him under control.”
The previous time the teams met, on Aug-ust 15, three players were sent from the field and three others received yellow cards.
Trojans captain Harry Witt subsequently received a six-month suspension on trampling charges.
But Taylor denies there is any extra niggle between the clubs.
“We have talked about being disciplined for this match,” he said.
“You can't afford to lose one bloke for 10 minutes, let alone the whole game.
“We'll be going into this game to be aggressive, but we are definitely not going out there for any cheap shots.”
Wilson, a controversial figure in rugby circles this year, also downplayed any talk of ill-feeling between the two clubs.
“There have been a few incidents against them, but I don't think it is going to affect the game in any way,” he said.
“We mention discipline every game and every training, and a well-disciplined side is a successful side.
“Of course, in a grand final you can't risk anyone being sent from the field.”
The first-grade grand final kicks off at 4.45pm and will be the culmination of a big day out for the Lismore club, which has a team involved in every grade.
Lismore City take on Ballina in third grade at 10.45am, Wollongbar-Alstonville in the Under-19s at 1.30pm, and Ballina in second grade at 3pm.
Bangalow will take on Yamba in the village competition grand final starting at 12 noon.
FIRST GRADE (4.45pm)
Lismore City: 1 Keith Morris, 2 Stephen Prosser, 3 Matt Collins, 4 Matt Larsson, 5 Craig Bryant, 6 Heath Conlan (c), 7 Glenn Paisley, 8 Ray Taylor, 9 Ben Felicioni, 10 Tim Birmingham, 11 Greg Hughes, 12 Will Cotterill, 13 Stephen Hughes, 14 Craig Jones, 15 Nigel Marshall. Coach: Ron Cox.
Lennox Head: 1 Corey Windle, 2 Jamie Tredinnick (c), 3 Matt Liddle, 4, Richard Jeffers, 5 James Coventry, 6 Luke Schaefer, 7 Daniel Watt, 8 Jeff Wilson, 9 Tony Buchanan, 10 Mathew Barnes, 11 Matthew Aherne, 12 Sam Stewart, 13 Braidon Boniface, 14 James Barnes, 15 Adam Gordon, 16 Andrew Creagh, 17 John Peacock, 18 Dane Bellato, 19 Tom Sandstrom, 20 James Kirkwood, 21 Jaysen Thompson, 22 Matt Gibson, 23 Anthony Fitzpatrick, 24 Joe Witt (two to be omitted). Coach: Paul Jeffrey.
Referee: Graham Cook.
Assistant referees: Rob Walker, Chris Wilkinson.
RESERVE GRADE (3pm)
Ballina: 1 Syd Etuati, 2 Steve Calnan, 3 Craig Dangar, 4 Will O'Donnell, 5 Craig Davy, 6 Tom Farrell, 7 Liam Preston, 8 Brett McLennan, 9 Lee Thomas, 10 Beau Milner, 11 Ben Robinson, 12 Chris Lynch, 13 Trent Short, 14 Matthew Costello, 15 Andrew Gordon, 16 Mark Charter, 17 Geoff St Clair, 18 Harry Bungate, 19 Jake Smith. Coach: Mick McGregor.
Lismore City: 1 Corey Gray, 2 Doug Rose, 3 Andrew Patterson, 4 Cerrig Wilson, 5 Paul Ryan, 6 Vaughan Nilsson (c), 7 Jesse Gill, 8 Corey Fraser, 9 Josh Creighton, 10 Mark Sivewright, 11 Reece Moore, 12 Johnson Porykali, 13 Jimmy Bull, 14 Rick Larsson, 15 John Lea, 16 Stuart Rose, 17 Stewart Edmonds, 18 Gibbson Porykali, 19 Dion Crethar, 20 Richard Rummery, 21 Josh Painter, 22 Grant Little. Coach: Phil Barr.
Referee: Steve Williamson
Assistant referees: Allan Thomas, Peter Brown.
Wollongbar-Alstonville: 1 Mitchell Greig, 2 Stuart Highlands, 3 Harry Warnes, 4 Matthew Knights, 5 Shaun Ellis, 6 Luke Lubrano, 7 Jeremy Tozer, 8 Sam Jones, 9 Darren Finati, 10 Kahliff Glass (c), 11 Nick Dufficy, 12 Alex Watson, 13 Sam Marsh, 14 Jarryd Bailey, 15 Phil Ralph, 16 Brodie McIntyre, 17 Scott Biddell-Brown, 18 Matt O'Neill, 19 Mitchell Pennisi, 20 Nathan Lynn, 21 John Cochrane, 22 Hamish Millane. Coach: Neil Glass.
Lismore City: 1 Tim Anderson, 2 Aaron Moreton, 3 David Gaudron, 4 Trent Paschkow, 5 James Bain, 6 Josh Painter, 7 Mitch Bell, 8 Dominic Morris, 9 Andrew Lynch, 10 Sam Cox, 11 Martin Clarke, 12 Jake Lennon, 13 Sam Flynn, 14 Chris Clark (c), 15 Sean Cox, 16 Nathan Anderson, 17 Brendan Fry, 18 Liam Harper, 19 Graeme Walker, 20 Rob Collings, 21 David Akkersdyk. Coach: David McKee.
Referee: Darren Winkler.
Assistant referees: Karl Lupton, Ian Lord.
VILLAGE COMPETITION (12 noon)
Bangalow: 1 James Williams, 2 Dan Hill, 3 Neil Moran, 4 Chris Davies, 5 Richard Kelly (c), 6 Simon Leighton, 7 Brett Starkey, 8 Andrew Griffiths, 9 Kegs Jennings, 10 Jock Craigie, 11 Brad Peat, 12 Nick Hornery, 13 Dick Collin, 14 Jake McKinnon, 15 Chris Bleakley, 16 Brad Hill, 17 Nigel Beard, 18 Greg Cromwell, 19 Tom Clapham, 20 Andrew Gribble, 21 Michael Busby, 22 Brad Richards. Coach: Simon Balcon.
Yamba: 1 Ashley Keating, 2 Robert Bell, 3 Dan Kelly, 4 Jackson Lucas, 5 Dane Mitchell, 6 Grant Rooks, 7 Cohen Rheinberger, 8 Luke Turner (c), 9 Byron Aitken, 10 Kris Thomsen, 11 Joe Timbs-Nelmes, 12 Ben Anderson, 13 Tristan Allard, 14 Shaun Jackson, 15 Scott Moore, 16 Connor Webster, 17 Andrew Ford, 18 Paul Cassidy, 19 Josh Burnes, 20 Paul Hope, 21 Brody Rheinberger, 22 Damian Glover, 23 James O'Hara (one to be omitted). Coaches: James O'Hara, Andrew Ford.
Referee: Mick Melino
Assistant referees: Aaron Reid, Greg Den Elzen.
THIRD GRADE (10.45am)
Ballina: 1 Geoff St Clair, 2 Joel McMahon, 3 John Doktor, 4 Kevin Clarke, 5 Chris Hammond, 6 Geoff Parry, 7 Danny Lickiss, 8 Mick Koellner (c), 9 Ross Tremayne, 10 Paul Lynch, 11 John Schmetzer, 12 Grant Clements, 13 Vernon Ware, 14 Ben Leon, 15 Mark Williams, 16 Paul Hardy, 17 Al Barrett, 18 Dan Cotes, 19 Rob Rayner, 20 Nick Oaariki, 21 Guy Reed, 22 Lincoln Raudonikis. Coach: Mick Koellner.
Lismore City: 1 Dave Malthouse, 2 Damien Keys, 3 Stewart Edmonds, 4 Gavin Tulk, 5 Daniel Biersteker, 6 Gibbson Porykali, 7 Richard Rummery, 8 Damien Maher (c), 9 Josh Creighton, 10 Mark Sivewright, 11 Ben Pepper, 12 Mitch Mowle, 13 Luke Palaziol, 14 Chris Millane, 15 Dion Crethar, 16 Matthew Lickiss, 17 Chris Doolan, 18 Johnson Porykali, 19 Ron Cox, 20 Kelven Singh, 21 Guy Latham, 22 Jesse Webster. Coach: Kelven Singh.
Referee: Gervase Bertus.
Assistant referees: Callum O'Grady, Will Palmer.