From the rucks



TONY White in yesterday's Daily Examiner got it right -- Saturday's Redmen v Buccaneers local derby at South Grafton is on everyone's lips.

It's a historic clash, never before have we seen Grafton and Yamba do battle in a top of the table battle in first grade, the in-form, undefeated Mighty River Redmen facing a serious challenge from the equally in-form Yamba Buccaneers.

The Ghosts versus Rebels used to be the local derby that attracted all the interest, but all the talk around traps is centred on this one.

It should be a seriously good game of rugby, with attacking play a certainty.

Grafton have swept all before them, amassing 53 tries in just six outings on the back of a powerful forward pack and a youthful back line.

Their scoring average is a staggering 48-11 and all the club point scoring records look to be doomed.

Yamba for their part are no slouches in attack with a back line also very highly regarded.

With the competition's best referee in charge, Greg Whittle, the game will be open and fast. My advice is to get there early.

nAJ Whalley is in town for the week and will be passing on a few tips from rugby at the elite level at training.

It will be a unique opportunity for Redmen players to get an insight into the direction of sport at the highest level from Whalley's Super 14 experience.

An insight into the ideas of one of world rugby's most innovative coaches, John Mitchell from the Force will be fascinating.

nIT'S not just the big local derby on Saturday that is keeping the local rugby fraternity busy.

There's five junior games on Friday night over at Rugby Park, while down river, there's Under-17s and -13s being played at Yamba.

nI MENTIONED last week about the Redmen premiership team from 1986 and their continuing involvement in rugby.

The 1998 premiership side are no slouches in this regard either.

Three are still playing first grade, Dan Hayne, Brett Graham and Gary Powell, who also coaches the Grafton first grade outfit.

Centre Chris Dougherty is the club's treasurer, while Stuart McLaughlin and Don Darke coach the Under-16s and -13s respectively.

nDEPENDING on results, the Coopers Far North Coast competition table may start to sort itself out this weekend or really congest in the middle part of the table.

An improving Lismore should continue their move upwards after a terrible start to the season by beating Tweed at home.

Casino may make a charge for a top two place if they can knock Wollongbar off, which may find coming back from last week's flogging from Grafton difficult.

A disappointing University may find an ominously improving Ballina too much at Lismore.

And in the big one, Yamba must be treated with respect as a credible force however on the weight of evidence from results to date, the Mighty River Redmen must be favoured.



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