11th-hour fitness test for utility
By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON Ghosts talented utility player Don Dickson will be given until the 11th hour to pass a fitness test before joining the Northern Rivers representative team in Lismore.
Dickson, troubled by an ankle injury, has been named at lock in the Northern Rivers team to take on Northern Division in the curtain-raiser to the Country versus City match at Oakes Oval.
"I've spoken to Don and he's assured me he will be allright," Northern Rivers coach Jamie Mathiou said yesterday.
"Don will have a last minute fitness test tomorrow."
The remainder of the team, barring Cudgen second-rower Damien Bryant, were all passed fit on Monday.
Bryant has a broken rib and has been replaced by team mate, Brian McCarthy.
Brilliant South Grafton Rebel Ray 'Razor' Mercy has been named at five-eighth in the Northern Rivers team.
The team will go into camp today in preparation for Friday's encounter.
"With these sort of matches you don't get a lot of chance for preparation," Mathiou said.
"Hopefully we can have two sessions tomorrow and a possible mock match against the Country side.
"They are all class players and it's more a matter of just concentrating on the basics, particularly defence.
"If you get your defence right the players have enough attacking flair.
"As long as they're all singing from the same hymn sheet we should be right."
NORTHERN RIVERS TEAM: Fullback, Craig Thurston (Cudgen); wingers, Niko Vakararawa (Marist Bros), Ricky Laing (Murwillumbah); centres, Sean Laurie (Ballina), Graham Smallwood (Marist Bros); five-eighth, Ray Mercy (South Grafton); halfback and captain, Daniel Evans (Tweed Heads); props, Simon Andrews (Marist Bros), Mykal Hemma (Tweed Heads), hooker, Jarrod Brown (Murwillumbah); second-row, Scott Gray (Tweed Heads), Brian McCarthy (Cudgen); lock, Don Dickson (Grafton Ghosts). Reserves: Luke Campbell (Marist Bros), Reece Vincent (Tweed Heads), Christene Mene (Kyogle), Mi- chael Kelly (Tweed Heads).