AFTER several years in the football wilderness, in-form goalkeeper Jason Rainbow will get his opportunity to play first grade today when the Maclean Bobcats take on Boambee at Wherrett Park Maclean.
Rainbow, who was part of the 2001 premiership-winning team, has been in eye-catching form this year and had it not been for some of his on-field heroics the youth grade team would be floundering on the competition ladder.
Unfortunately, the promotion of Rainbow means long-time Bobcat custodian and club stalwart Graeme Courte will be sent to bolster the youth grade ranks.
Courte, whose hair has been likened to that of a bed of kelp, has been unable to attend training this season and that, coupled with an aging body, has left the door open for the in-form Rainbow to get his opportunity to impress.
"I knew at the start of the season I would be unable to attend training due to work commitments, so holding down the first grade job was always going to be difficult, especially considering I'm not getting any younger," Courte said.
"We are just very fortunate to have a player of Jason's quality who can step into first grade and do a good job for the side."
Youth grade coach Mick Corbett, who would have been left more than a little red-faced this season had it not been for the form of Rainbow, said the return of Courte to youth grade and the experience and enthusiasm he would bring to the team would hopefully rub off on the younger players.
Either way the Bobcats will have their work cut out for them in both grades this weekend when they take on the Boambee Bombers.
Boambee has proven to be a handful for the Bobcats in recent years and the Bobcats will need a drastic form reversal from last week, when they were convincingly beaten by Woolgoolga.
Youth grade kick-off is at 1pm and first grade at 3pm.
THE Maclean senior women's team will travel to Coffs Harbour to take on the might of the Coffs Harbour Lionesses this weekend.
After a week off last week because of wet weather the team will be at full strength for the first time this season and will look forward to the challenge against its more seasoned opponents.