Local derby for lower river grand finalists

By Grant Neilson

The Maclean Bowling Club Bobcats third grade soccer team set up a grand final derby with local rivals Yamba when they comfortably won their weekend clash with Westlawn in the Clarence River soccer competition.

Maclean and Yamba have built up a great rivalry on the soccer field and with the grand final to take place on Yamba's home ground on Saturday afternoon, the home team will go in slight favourites but the Bobcats will be revelling with the underdog tag and the chance to step out of the shadow of their premier league club mates.

The Bobcats went into last weekend's final against Westlawn missing two senior players in Dave Smith and Rick O'Connor, but with the week off both are hoping to be fit for the decider.

If they do pass their Saturday morning fitness tests the Bobcats will go into the match at close to full strength.

Grand finals are usually one when experienced players take the lead.

That will mean players like Darryl Simmons, Luke Harradine and Smith will need to take control.

But with fearless youngsters like Lance Nibbs, Joe Plater and Darvid Watling all in the good form the Bobcats will go in brimming with confidence.

And with a pair of livewire strikers in Toby Ford and Matt Plumber both finding the net regularly in recent weeks the Bobcats will not be short of fire power up front.

The grand final match up between the two rivals could not be any tighter.

Both have had wins against each other this year and both will go into match positive about their chances.

The make up of the two teams are very similar in that both Yamba and Maclean have a great mixture of youth and experience and it will almost certainly come down to who wins their individual battles across the park that will decide the outcome.

If anything the Bobcats may have a slight edge with the agile Matt Bannerman in goals, particularly if the match comes down to a penalty shootout.

In the end there is only one thing better then a local derby and that is a Grand Final local derby.

A massive crowd is expected at Yamba Oval for the 3pm kick off for the conclusion to a great season for both clubs.

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