NOW: South Grafton must win its match tomorrow to remain in the semi-final race.
NOW: South Grafton must win its match tomorrow to remain in the semi-final race.

Crunch time for Souths


SOUTH GRAFTON rugby league first grade team is being urged to concentrate more on the game and stop commenting on decisions by referees, which has led to unwanted penalties.

And unless the Rebels can cut out the rubbish, beginning tomorrow with the important clash with Ballina Seagulls at McKittrick Park, South Grafton, they can kiss their finals dreams goodbye in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.

"Penalties and ill-discipline have crept into our game and it's stopping our flow," captain-coach Stevie Kirby admitted.

"The ill-discipline is frustrating, very frustrating.

"It's not allowing us to get a roll on and into the zone.

"Without the ball or (you) keep giving it away, you're no chance, no chance of winning a game.

"We've just got to minimise the penalties and get back to rolling forward."

Kirby said several players had been spoken to for their lack of discipline.

Injuries, which have beset Clarence Valley teams this weekend, have further exasperated the club's problems.

Ken Mercy is out for the season with a knee problem, Mark and Ken Laurie remain sidelined and Andy Bell and Nathan Kelly return through reserve grade.

Exciting Walter Donnelly should add fire power to the Rebels attack returning at fullback this week.

"It's going to be a tough game," Kirby admitted. "But it's a game we must win to keep our semi-final hopes alive.

"Ballina have some terrific young enthusiastic players and our plan will be to try and slow down their play-the-balls."

A win for Ballina could all but seal the make-up of the top six with just three games remaining after the weekend before the finals.

Ballina coach Chris Binge said his side would have to be wary of South Grafton's big forward pack.

"If we can stop them going forward then it will reduce the room for guys like Ray Mercy and Dallas Waters," he said.

"It'll be a pretty tough game."

Ballina's cause has also been helped by the emergence of several boom youngsters.

Binge singled out James Rix, Rob Miles, Clarence Kelly, Ed Killingbeck and Ben Crawford for their contributions throughout the season, and the return of Mitch Aubusson next week will further boost the Seagulls stocks.

SOUTH GRAFTON: Fullback, Walter Donnelly; wingers, Joe Gordon, Dave Purcell; centres, Ray Mercy, Scott Laurie; fiveeighth, Paul Donovan; halfback, Dallas Waters; props, Xavier Sullivan, Kevin Blanch; hooker, Stevie Kirby (c); secondrowers, Jack Currie, Colby Schrader; lock, Shannon Cromelin. Coach: Stevie Kirby.

BALLINA: Fullback, Shaun Laurie; wingers, Rob Miles, Trent Gasnier; centres, Ashley Moran, Sioni Tonga; five-eighth, Justin Bolt; halfback, Troy Johnstone; props, Grant Erickson, Tyler Iversen; hooker, Matt Temby; second-rowers, Matt Slattery, Corey Windle; lock, Josh Mather. Coach: Chris Binge.

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