Flanker new Hope of team
By TONY WHITE
PACIFIC Hotel Yamba Buccaneers tenacious Paul Hope has been shifted to lock to fill the void left following Mitch McLennan's departure overseas.
Buccaneers coach Andrew Bennett considered several options before settling on Hope's switch from flanker to lock for the match against Casino at Yamba Oval today.
Third's flanker Ben Hennessey has been elevated to first grade and injured winger Bede Hunt has been replaced by Luke Many, who makes his first grade debut for the club.
The Buccaneers are keen to continue their winning momentum against a strong Casino line up, but coach Bennett is under no illusions at the task ahead.
"Casino have been a consistent finals contender over several season's and they had a big win over Lennox Heads last week (76-12)," Bennett said.
"I notice they have several quality players back in the side and they are better balanced than at the start of the season.
"They're big and strong in the forwards and obviously have the strike power to score points.
"We're in for a tough match."
While complimenting Casino's strengths, Bennett said the Buccaneers were going into the match in a confident mood.
"Everyone is still on a high after our first away win last week (19-7 over Southern Cross University) and training has been good," he said. "Paul Hope has fitted in well at lock during training and I'm sure Luke Many won't let anyone down.
"He is a very prominent footballer."
While Hope lacks McLennan's stature, he's like a terrier on the rugby field, more often than not first to the breakdown and will run and scrap for the full 80 minutes.
The talented Many's debut is keenly anticipated.
Bennett said one of the Buccaneers strength's this season been the team's ability to create opportunities and capitalize.
Fly-half Anthony Begg has been instrumental in creating space with the likes of centres Lee Everett, Tristan Allard and lanky representative fullback Adrian Miller feeding off good ball.
The Buccs' forwards have more than held their own creating a solid platform for the backs to work off.
"Our strike power has been in the backs, spreading the ball wide and able to create opportunities," he said.
"It will be a matter of us showing patience and not making silly decisions under pressure.
"We've got to play our normal game and wait for the points to come."
BUCCANEERS: Fullback, Adrian Miller; wingers, Liam Jones, Luke Many; centres, Lee Everett, Tristan Allard; five-eighth, Anthony Begg; halfback, Rob Imeson; props, Ben Lardner, Anthony Edwards; hooker, Pete Davis; second-row, Sean Riley, Kane Aeschlimann; breakaways, Luke Turner (c), Ben Hennessey; lock, Paul Hope. Coach: Andrew Bennett.