Big ask for Magpies
By TONY WHITE
WHEN the chips are down footballers sometimes respond with an unexpected characterbuilding performance.
Lower Clarence captain-coach Jason Wilkinson hopes his Magpie team can dig deep tomorrow when they face the might of Marist Brothers Rams at Oakes Oval, Lismore, in round seven of the NRRRL.
Lower are coming off a 46-10 drubbing at the hands of Kyogle and Wilkinson is under no illusions at the task ahead.
"It's a big test this weekend, we know we're up against it," he said.
"Marist Brothers are always a well drilled, well coached, professional side and have been the benchmark in this area for many years.
"But I believe we're still improving and training has been back on track and the in house problems have been sorted out which is a big plus for us. Hopefully we can rise to the ocassion.
"Last week we had no direction. One of the problems has been we're not mentally switched on, bad starts then playing catch up.
"We've got to prepare better. We had a good team talk on Thursday and one of the concerns has been everyone coming into the sheds bit by bit, some warmed up, others still getting strapping. A bit all over the place."
Wilkinson will again miss this week with a sternum and collarbone injury but is hopeful of returning for the match against Tweed Coast Raiders tomorrow week. Scott Laurie is also injured but centre Ken Mercy is back after missing the Kyogle game.
Brothers, coached by Craig Hodge, have a formidable outfit with quality across the park, five or six representative players and experienced Dave Krause getting back to his best.
LOWER CLARENCE: Fullback, Grant Brown; wingers, Dane Walker, Boe Hayne; centres, Daniel Battersby, Ken Mercy; five-eighth, Aaron Murray (c); halfback, Dave Purcell; props, Wayne Reed, Mick Harris; hooker, Ben Gillespie; second-row, Ryan Binge, Tom Freebody; lock, Daniel Cowling. Coach: Jason Wilkinson.
MARIST BROTHERS: Fullback, Adrian Gooley; wingers, Chris Kirkland, Brad Johnson; centres, Dylan Coleman, Graham Smallwood; five-eighth, Jake Campbell; halfback, Brent Peterson; props, Simon Andrews, Des Maher; hooker, Scott Gibson; second-rowers, Luke Scott, Kevin Walker; lock, David Krause. Bench: Luke Campbell. Coach: Craig Hodge.