Round 12 of the round-ball game
NO predictions or comments will be made about the weather just in case those nasty grey clouds are listening.
Players are normally well into the rigours of the season by now but with training and games seriously disrupted, coaches will need a new strategy to guide their teams to the finals.
An absolute cracker leads us off this round with Lismore Workers hosting Goonellabah on Friday night at 8pm. Workers have gone off the boil a little after looking the testing material early in the season. This is despite being the only side yet to be beaten, but draws have frustrated their momentum. Goonellabah sit on top of the table and the defending premiers are still rueing their last clash against the Redmen when they had defender James Tomlinson sent off and finished with a draw.
The Hornets have more game time than any other team and like all Mark Ambler coached outfits, are superbly fit. Workers front trio of Mortimer, Kelleher and De Carvalho are always scheming as are the Hornet's strikers Annett and Ring so we can expect action at both ends of the park.
Three games on Saturday will sort out a few positions on the table with Alstonville meeting a Byron Bay side now boosted by the return to local football of Jordy Campbell. Villa are well off the pace for a finals berth but have shown enough quality in their performances to test any side. Alstonville are scoring at the rate of one and a half goals per game but conceding two, which is not a favourable statistic. Captain Eamonn Banks has been courageous and tireless in inspiring his side and we can expect another passionate effort from his troops on home turf.
Lismore Thistles meet Ballina at John Ryan Field and the Blues have new recruit, Matt Parrish, ready to replace injured striker Jake Nind. This is a danger game for Thistles, who sit nicely poised in the top five but cannot afford to drop any points.
The final Saturday match is at 5pm when Italo Stars aim up against Casino in a battle to avoid the relegation zone. Sunday football will be at Bill Harris Field, East Lismore at 2.30pm when Rovers aim to repel Lennox Head and stay entrenched in the top three. The return of Troy Matthews to the top grade and new signing Reid Brewer-Charles from Lismore Workers give coach Brian Bugden another string to his bow as Rovers start to look ominous. On Monday night, Workers host Ballina at 8pm.