Roll up for round one of Anzac Cup

Trial form is last week's "fish and chip" wrapping and the teams are now preparing themselves for the pre-season competition, with the Tursa Employment and Training Anzac Cup commencing this Friday night, March 2.

Two of last season's high fliers - Lismore Thistles and Gooonellabah - kick off their 2012 Anzac Cup quest in a tussle that should be fast flowing and close. Goonellabah's trophy cabinet is still bulging after claiming two titles in 2011 and the Hornets start this season as the team that "everyone" wants to beat.

Mark Ambler was reported as being calm and nonchalant after his side went down to Lismore Workers last week in the Corey New Cup, but with a massive change of personnel he looks to have some work to do to emulate the success of 2011.

Thistles have recruited strongly, with experienced defender Matt Weir and his Stars team mate Jordan Nind returning to the club where both played junior football. Coach Paul (Bomber) Parmenter has more depth than any Blues side for more than a decade and hopes are high for a stellar year at East Lismore.

The second Friday night clash sees Alstonville host Ballina and we all wait to see what these clubs can produce after indifferent seasons in 2011. Ballina staved off relegation when Pottsville Beach withdrew from premier division and coach Rod Troughton, who is remaining at the helm, knows that on-field success is the only thing that will ensure the club longevity in the top grade.

Villa are yet to convince pundits that they are genuine premier challengers but have a considered strategist in coach Troy Taylor, who has an innate capacity to manage players and I wish him all the best.

The Sunday games are all set for 4.30pm kick-offs and Byron Bay returns to the future when Peter Ware leads the Rams after a two-year absence. Byron always produces players with special talent so why should this year be any different? They meet Italo Stars who have been decimated by player exits, leaving new coach Neil Wraight with a tough year ahead of him.

Casino meets the powerful line-up of Lismore Workers and with several Casino players from 2011 now at the Redmen's camp, there could be feeling in this match.

Finally, Lennox Head debuts back in premier division by welcoming perennial top side Rovers in an acid test of how tough life could be in 2012.

Sounds to me like the football is about to start, so go out and support your team.

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