Defenders keep faith on club's ladies day
RUGBY UNION: THEY may be known for their attacking arsenal in 2018 but McKimms Grafton Redmen hope to become synonymous with defence as they look to continue their Mid North Coast resurgence against SCU Marlins at Rugby Park South Grafton tomorrow.
The Redmen have knuckled down to business in emphatic style in recent weeks and will need to be on top of their game against a dangerous and unpredictable Marlins outfit.
It will be another test of the Redmen's resolve. They stood up to examination against Port Pirates last round but Marlins are a different kettle of fish who rely heavily on attacking ad-lib footy.
Redmen first grade coach Howe is under no illusions just how tough it is to contain Marlins' backs but is adamant his side has the defensive measures to shut down their attacking raids.
"Uni is a bit different to other sides. Their forwards are okay and can hold their own but their strength is definitely in their centres," Howe said at training during the week.
"They did worry us in the backs last time we played them. But in saying that our defence has been fantastic. Even when our attack has gone a bit haywire our defence has held firm.
"Wortho (Luke Worthing) has been solid in defence and we can bring him off the wing into the centres while defending which allows Karrnunny (Pearce) to counter attack if they kick."
The jury is still out on whether Marlins have the firepower up front to win back-to-back premierships while Grafton have a forward pack capable of matching it with the best in the competition.
"I'm fairly comfortable with what our forwards have been able to achieve. Also our forwards are a lot better now then when we played Uni last time," Howe said.
"We may not dominate them completely but we certainly won't be dominated."
Grafton had a few injury concerns during the week but Howe is quietly confident he can field a near full-strength side.
"Billy Whalan and Kyle (Hancock) are both carrying rib injuries after last week's game against Port while Mitch (Lollback) has a problem with his glute," he said.
"Hopefully, they'll all pull up all right after training. We still have Greg Jackson on tap if one of the backs is unavailable."
Grafton tackle Marlins in three grades in conjunction with Sponsors and Ladies day. Second grade kicks off at 1.30pm followed by Grafton Women's Rubies at 2.45pm. First Grade is at 3.15pm.
REDMEN SIDE: 1. Dan Blackman, 2. Zac Mason-Gale, 3. Jack Anderson, 4. Angus Howard, 5. Nick Collie, 6. Kevin Weeks, 7. Billy Whalan, 8. Ed McGrath, 9. Dom Bullock, 10. Kyle Hancock (c), 11. Keaton Ingram, 12. Karrnunny Pearce, 13. Josh Nagle, 14. Luke Worthing, 15. Mitch Lollback