Lismore Thistles captain Darren Beardow heads the ball in last weekend’s match against Pottsville Beach.
Lismore Thistles captain Darren Beardow heads the ball in last weekend’s match against Pottsville Beach.

The big guns are already firing

The Southern Cross Credit Union Men’s Premier Division was played in very hot conditions last week and close results were the order of the round. The “big guns” – Rovers, Byron Bay and Goonellabah – got out of the blocks well securing maximum points. Each of these teams will have the additional challenge of having played an Anzac Cup semi final on Tuesday night. Even at this early stage of the season, player depth and fitness will have some influence on how the teams perform.

In an absolute blockbuster, Goonellabah and Richmond Rovers square off at 8pm on Friday night at Weston Park. Each squad boasts experienced, quality players and rival coaches Mark Ambler and Tim Sheridan will see this early season clash as one of several matches in 2010 where every player will need to come with their game faces on. Friday night matches at Goonellabah usually attract a big crowd and with both clubs having vocal supporters, Weston Park will be the place to be.

Bangalow were competitive in their first hit-out for 2010, despite losing to Lismore Workers. Meeting Byron Bay, who will be playing their third game in a week and already with injury worries, may be the Bluedogs’ best chance to defeat the Rams. Captain Joel Rudgley, now the young veteran, looks like being the lynch pin for Bangalow this year.

Lismore Thistles travel to Ballina and with a win over Pottsville Beach last Sunday they will hope that the momentum continues. Matt Parrish was too fast for Pottsville down the left side of the park and with the mercurial Darren Beardow and young gun Jake Nind in midfield, the Blues will be a danger side for most teams.

Pottsville Beach were disappointing last week, but they are always a much harder team at home and the young Alstonville side can expect a rugged encounter on the coast. The Sunday game has Italo Stars matched against Lismore Workers at Barrow Lane. Stars were unable to go the distance with Goonellabah last week, but showed enough to suggest that they will be tough opposition. Workers got the points against Bangalow, but coach Scott Collis knows that his side will need to perform much better to test the top sides. Let’s hope that the supporters are treated to fast, exciting football this week.


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