By Dave Morrison
The international rugby season is in full swing with this weekend's blockbuster against Italy providing Australian sporting public with likely atonement, hopefully, for recent losses to Bangladesh, Somerset and England.
It would be good for World rugby to see a competitive Italian side go well to follow up last week's fine one-point win in Argentina, but let's hope for the sake of our collective Aussie bruised egos, not too well.
Last week's local rugby derby was pretty typical, hard at the breakdown, but perhaps not the prettiest game all season.
That often happens when there is more than just competition points a stake.
Nevertheless, both sides should be congratulated for the way that they threw themselves into it.
Tim Landrigan's 150th game milestone for the club almost went unnoticed, however as usual, he was very noticeable on the field tackling most things that moved.
He's still a pup, almost, and with plenty of seasons left to top the 200.
A few talented locals are on a path that may lead to selection in the Lloyd McDermott invitational side to tour New Zealand later in the year.
This is an Aboriginal selection that traditionally unearths great talent. Former Redmen, the late Mal Weatherstone, came through this development path.
Backrowers Seb Dalton, and Rowan Hardy, prop Daniel Bligh and backs Jayden Webb and Cody Ellis have been noticed and selected in the Northern NSW side to play Sydney, the game to determine selection for the NSW side as a stepping stone to the Australian touring party.
Observers think there's a big chance for three or so of these to progress further. Good luck.
The Redmen Juniors had mixed results at Yamba last week.
The 13s made too many unforced errors in going down 5-29, with Nathan O'Neill, Taylor Slattery and Joel Westgate standing out.
The 15s fared better, their forwards dominating in a 10-7 win on the bell after attacking for the final 10 minutes.
The new facilities at the rugby grounds have been a huge success with improved crowds at all games and greater use of the grounds by schools and the like.
On the down side, there has been some isolated incidents of litter, and in particular glass bottles left in the areas surrounding.
As glass is not allowed at the rugby, it is being brought in by others.
Unfortunately, bringing your own not only leaves the Rugby Club understandably at odds with our good neighbours, but also puts our licence at risk.
Please, come and enjoy the rugby but pick up after yourself and leave your own beer at home.
Not a big issue yet but let's nip potential problems in the bud.
nTHE Redmen head to Wollongbar on Saturday with a win leap frogging them from fifth to third, as University and Ballina both have byes.
This will be a real test of their mettle against an improved Pioneers but there's plenty of incentive there to win.
The other game should see Casino regain top spot, at home to Yamba, with Lismore also having a lay off.