Examiner Shield set to be a gem
By TONY WHITE
ROUND two of the Daily Examiner Shield at McKittrick Park tonight takes on a distinctive 'Ghosts' flavour.
Open combatants McAuley Catholic College, last year's winners, are coached by Grafton Ghosts first grade captain Matt Michael while the South Grafton team are under the guidance of Ghosts head coach, Matt McKee.
The winner of tonight's game will play Grafton High in the open final at McKittrick Park on Friday, June 17 after Grafton defeated Maclean High School 20-nil last Wednesday.
Michael coached last year's McAuley Under-14 team and was assistant to Tom McKenna with the open side.
McAuley and South High are blessed with numerous representative players
"The tactics should be interesting," Michael said. "It should be a good match up.
"Our team has had about half a dozen training runs together and I'm sure the boys will go out and give 100 per cent.
"I'm pretty confident they will acquit themselves well."
Michael named lock and captain Daniel Battersby, livewire halfback Luke Dougherty and big prop Jake Patterson as three likely stars.
"We've got a couple of big boys like Jake (Patterson) in the pack and a nippy backline and we'll definitely be using them (the backs)," Michael said.
McKee's side is mainly made up of 'enemy' players from the South Grafton Rebels successful Under-16 team.
Ten players in the current open side are from the champion South High Under-14 team that won the DEX Shield in 2003 and Cody Ellis from last year's Under-14 team.
Prop Daniel Bligh, under contract to the Manly Sea Eagles, second-rower Tim Tilse, centre Shane Cropper and captain and lock Brad Rodda are Group One junior representative players.
"We've got a good cohesive side with our forwards likely to be the dominating factor," McKee said. "Our backline looks pretty handy."
McAuley and South High also clash in the Under-14s division, with the winner progressing to the final to meet Maclean.
The Under-14s contest is at 5pm with the open scheduled for 6pm.