FORMER Socceroo Craig Moore will play in the local competition this Saturday. He lines up for Lismore Richmond Rovers in their men's premier clash with Goonellabah at Bill Harris Field in East Lismore.
This is the first time that a former international player has participated in a Football Far North Coast senior competition fixture and a big crowd is expected when the game kicks off at 5.30pm.
Getting Moore to Lismore is the work of former Lismore man Anthony George, who played with Rovers and has known Moore for many years. Even though Moore has only retired from high level competition for a few years he is eligible to play in local domestic competition because he is no longer a professional footballer and does not play in any other competition in Australia.
At age 36 Moore still looks very fit and like many top defenders, is quite tall and very strong. He came to Lismore last week for a promotional visit and said that he is delighted to be able to come to regional places like Lismore and play. Lismore Richmond Rovers are excited about being able to secure a player with the profile that Moore has and are hoping that a lot of kids come to see the ex-Socceroo in action this Saturday.
Premier coach Brian Bugden said that it will provide a unique opportunity for his players, particularly the young guys, to learn from a player like Craig Moore in a game situation.
The match against long time rivals Goonellabah was already expected to be an exciting clash with these clubs battling out many of the big games over the past five years. The inclusion of Moore should add even more interest in front of an expected big crowd.
Rovers stalwart Vicki Bugden has been the chief organiser of the visit behind the scenes and is hoping that kids from all clubs come along to see Craig, get his autograph and rub shoulders with one of the country's best ever players.
There are some who have questioned Moore's participation in this game citing his stature in the game, including being part of the 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa. The fact is that Moore is eligible to play but more significantly we should be celebrating the opportunity to promote football by having a genuine star like Craig Moore in our midst.
I suggest that it is important to look past the parochial issue of club loyalty or competition points and recognise the way this visit helps the game locally. Let's all get down to East Lismore on Saturday for the 5.30pm kick off and cheer on a real champion and show him that we really appreciate him giving of his time to come to our beautiful region.