From the rucks
By DAVE MORRISON
BIG news for the Jacaranda Hotel Redmen this week with the announcement that the Zone administration has awarded the club hosting rights for the minor semi final, to be held on September 3.
With three competition rounds left to play, it's anyone's guess who'll be there that day.
At this stage, just five points, or a bonus point win, separates equal leaders Ballina and Casino, each on 52 points, from fourth placed Grafton (47), with defending premiers Lismore sandwiched in between on 50 points.
Not to be discounted are the fast finishing University, back to full strength and threatening despite being a further 9 points adrift of the Redmen.
With their propensity to pick up bonus points from four tries, they are still a real threat with their game at home in a fortnight's time against Grafton perhaps the key to their, and Grafton's hopes.
That is of course if they can knock of Lismore this week, and if that happens, the Greens could also be at risk of missing out as they finish the season with a bye.
Ballina's bye this week means that they could conceivably drop from first to fourth without having stepped onto the field.
I can't recall such a close competition and it really is a case of any one of five sides being capable of beating each other on their given day.
SECOND grade is a bit clearer with Ballina and Grafton filling in the major semi spots, with minor semi final day at Grafton likely to be between Wollongbar and Lismore.
Wollongbar and Lismore are clearly on top in the Colts with Casino and Lennox Head to play the knockout game in Grafton.
Third grade is a bit like the top grade, Lismore and Byron runaway leaders but with three sides tied on 28 points fighting out the remaining two semi final spots ? Ballina, Yamba and the Redmen.
THE Redmen juniors are into their last round in the Far North Coast competition with the Under-17s at this stage flying the flag for the semis.
However, the Grafton Under-10s are
through to the Mid North Coast grand final following their decisive win over Coffs Harbour last week.
This pits them against the red-hot Bishop Druitt College side in Friday night's decider at Coffs.
Good luck to the boys.
THIS week's senior round will be crucial.
Casino should get one hand on the minor premiership by beating Yamba at home.
The University versus Lismore is a traditional derby with so much at stake.
Following two successive losses, Lismore could see a major semi final spot slip away with another loss, while for University, it is curtains for them if they can't continue to win.
This is a real tough one to pick but I think that the Greens have too much to play for and their forwards should give them enough to sneak home.
Grafton travel to Wollongbar in a must win game against an apparently dispirited Pioneers.
A win with a bonus point is a must and is there for the taking if good enough. Grafton to win.
AS for Saturday night, we might see some real, attacking rugby and defences that stay onside.
The Wallabies to take first blood in the Bledisloe Cup.