Byron to try for spot in top five

BYRON BAY and Evans Head each have a golden chance to make headway in the NRRRL today.

Byron – still without a host of key players – can put Tweed Coast away for their third straight win and cement a spot in the top five.

Evans Head has unearthed a Kiwi combination that can pile more misery on Lower Clarence, string two wins together and gain a major confidence boost.

Both clubs are hosting struggling opposition for the crucial clashes.

The Red Devils welcome back regular fullback Bill Lowrie after a month out injured, but the form of Brett Kelly at the back has led to coach Simon Kelly including Lowrie in the centres.

“Brett just gets better and better every week,” he said.

“He is only 18 and going from strength to strength.”

Confidence in the camp is high after travelling well and overcoming injuries to turn around a three-game slump, and there are still a handful of players to return.

“Everyone is on their toes – there is that much competition for spots in the side,” Kelly said.

A win against lowly Tweed Coast is crucial for the Bay with games against top-three sides Grafton Ghosts, Ballina and Marist Brothers in the next month.

Further south, in Bombers territory, the recent addition of Junior Ahkoui and Paletasiala Ale has given Evans Head a much-needed edge to complement their tradesman-like forward pack.

Mates in the land of the long white cloud, Ahkoui and Ale will start their first game together for the Bombers after strong displays from the bench last weekend. Ahkoui has claimed the six jersey, while Ale will be in the centres on the Bombers’ left side attack.

Ahkoui adds another dimension to the side at five-eighth – a strong defender, a good organiser and a ball-player with vision.

His link man provides a beacon of power out wide that is hard to tackle – and he lovesan offload.

Ale scored the winning try in the drought-breaking victory for the Bombers last week and club manager Brad Mayes expects moreof the same.

“These two guys add something that we didn’t have previously,” Mayes said.

“They really are a sight on the field, particularly Pale, and they have a good rapport with each other.”

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