DEX SHIELD: Grafton High out to stop Bats mid-flight
SCHOOL SPORT: Arch-rival high schools Maclean High and Grafton High will battle it out tonight for the Opens Daily Examiner Shield and ultimate rugby league bragging rights for the next 12 months.
It is the second year in a row the two schools have met in the final, but this time around it is expected to be a lot closer than last year's feature clash.
Maclean High will ride a wave of momentum into the clash at McKittrick Park after their final minute thrilling win against South Grafton High in the round games just under a fortnight ago. Bats halfback Gordon Ugle was unstroppable against South Grafton scoring a hat trick of tries including the winner on the siren.
But Grafton High will bring a line-up stacked with local rugby league juniors including South Grafton Rebels' Mike Rigg who has been dominant for the Rebels in reserve grade and even earned a spot on the first grade bench recently.
For event organiser Janita Cooper, the action on field will be almost unmissable.
"There will definitely be some razzle dazzle football being played,” Cooper said. "While Grafton was not there on the opening night, I think they might just come away with the Opens win.
"They have a real mixture of (Grafton) Ghosts and Rebels juniors, and I think they might have a stronger line-up on paper.
"But Maclean have proved they aren't to be taken lightly, there is a lot of belief in that school, and if Grafton don't contain little Gordon Ugle anything could happen for the Bats.”
The Bats will also meet South Grafton High in what is a rematch of their 42-0 victory a fortnight ago in the Under-14s final while Grafton High, South Grafton High and Maclean High will duke it out in a league tag tournament.
"I am pretty excited about having the league tag on,” Cooper said. "I think it acts to keep it fair between the boys and the girls.
"Women have high profiles in league now too, so it is great to have the girls on field tonight to show their talents to the crowd.”
The Opens teams will be battling it out for a $1000 prize provided by Cranes Community Services while the Under-14s will chase a $500 prize sponsored by CHS Training.
The Daily Examiner Shield is proudly sponsored by the South Grafton Rebels and South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club as well as Jett's Fitness, Macleod's Furniture and NRL's State of Mind campaign.
All the action kicks off at McKittrick Park at 4pm today with entertainment provided by local duo Milly and Tash.