Rebels need Mercy dash
By TONY WHITE
SOUTH Grafton Rebels captain-coach Stevie Kirby is looking to new recruit Ken Mercy to burst out of the blocks in the club's game against Casino in the opening round of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition at McKittrick Park tomorrow.
Mercy and his brother Ray, a centre, formerly played with Lower Clarence.
"I'm expecting a big one from Ken," Kirby said.
"He didn't play in any of our trials due to a hand injury but he's in real good nick, fired up and rearing to go."
The Mercy brothers, match-winners on their day, fullback Wes Roberts, fiveeighth Andy Bell and second-rower Brendan Hardy are new additions to the Rebels first grade line up.
This season the Rebels are sporting not only new players but new management, a new captain-coach and will wear a new strip celebrating the club's 90th anniversary.
The Cougars smashed South Grafton 36-6 in a recent trial match at Queen Elizabeth Park.
"They looked pretty slick," Kirby admitted.
"Casino haven't got a big pack, but they're mobile and last time they caught us out wide when they spun the ball.
"Our focus at training this week has been on defence.
"We've got to shut down the play, wrap up the ball and put the man on the ground."
New Casino coach, Cavill Heugh, a former Illawarra Steeler who played eight seasons in England, said the trial result couldn't be taken too seriously.
"South Grafton didn't have their full first grade side, but we beat Kyogle in a trial and that's given the team more confidence and enthusiasm," he said.
Heugh said that this year Casino have more depth across all positions in the team.
"There's competition for key positions and we've had more players turning up to training," he said.
SOUTH GRAFTON: Fullback, Wes Roberts; wingers, Dave Purcell, Walter Donnelly; centres, Ray Mercy, Ken Mercy; five-eighth, Andy Bell; halfback, Dallas Waters; props; Xavier Sullivan, Nathan Kelly; hooker, Stevie Kirby (c), second-rowers, Brad Lloyd, Brendan Hardy; lock, Colby Shraeder. Coach: Stevie Kirby.
CASINO: Fullback, Tim Stark; wingers, Clint Vidler, ben Birney; centres, Gary Roberts, Todd Walker; five-eighth, Matt Roberts; halfback, Wes Torrens; props, Ian Munro, Cole Yates; hooker, Bred Birney; secondrowers, Chris McGrath (c), Kirk Hancock; lock, Chad Pearce. Coach: Cavill Heugh.