Magpie season Last hope of league glory for Valley
By TONY WHITE
CLARENCE Valley league pride goes on the line at Ned Byrne Field Cudgen today when Lower Clarence Under-18s take on Kyogle in the semi-finals.
The young Magpies were the only Clarence Valley team in three grades to make the finals series in the inaugural Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.
Lower Clarence finished fifth on the ladder and play fourth placed Kyogle at 11.30am.
The team, coached by Ricky Binge, has done a marvellous job after a series in injuries disrupted the team throughout the season.
The Magpies' injury fortunes have turned in recent weeks and Binge expects to have a near full strength line up against the Turkeys, a team that beat Lower 32-22 a couple of weeks back running away in the second half after Lower led 18-12 at half time.
Injured centres Luke Prosser (knee) and Callum Leonard (shoulder) return after a short stint in the Magpies 48-nil thumping of Casino at Maclean Showground last Sunday.
"Our forwards have definitely been our strength this year," Binge said.
"We're lucky to have a lot of utility players that have been able to cover different positions. They've all helped each other."
Binge was most impressed with Lower's win last week and said the team had a lot of confidence going into do or die semi final encounter.
Talented Magpie captain Daniel Battersby will again play five-eighth after moving from lock in recent games.
Fullback Aaron Taylor, who scored three tries in Under-18s and backed up with two in first grade has been a shining light all season.
LOWER CLARENCE: Fullback: Aaron Taylor, wingers: Bo Haine, Callum Lenard; centres: Luke Prosser, Peter Thornton; five-eighth: Daniel Battersby; halfback: Jackson Philp; front-rowers: Daniel Austin, Guy Barlow; hooker: Tom Martin; second rows: Ryan Binge, Troy Harding; lock: Luke Vial. Reserves: Byron Aitken, Kurt Stanford, Don McPhail, Matt McLennan, Brad Corbett, Steve Waters, Tom Fletcher. Coach: Ricky Binge.