Rugby HQ opening

ALL roads lead to Rugby Park South Grafton on Saturday for what promises to be one of the biggest rugby days in years.

Not only is there the kick off to the Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast competition, with the Redmen hosting Lismore in four grades, but after a frenetic off season, the new clubhouse gets its official opening.

There have been huge changes since last September, with a new sideline clubhouse complete with modern kitchen and bar facilities, toilets and the works, revamped playing surface with underground irrigation, with the finishing touches being finalised on new change rooms ad upgraded lighting.

It's been a huge job, with immense credit to all involved.

It is impossible to name everyone who has helped out, but Owen Turner, Ray Collie, Gary Powell and Ian Cameron have put in countless hours.

My apologies to any I've missed, but the time for individual recognition will come a bit later.

Business and community support have been outstanding, as has been the efforts of the players in chalking up over 2500 hours of labour through working bees throughout the summer.

The official duties will commence just before first grade.

What a way to open the new facilities by hosting premiers and club champions, Lismore City.

-GRAFTON versus Lismore games have been an annual; event since the Zone was founded in 1969, so it is very appropriate that we host a fel- low founding club on this big day.

To test yourself against the best first up is also the way to go.

Lismore have set the benchmark and will be hard to toss.

Grafton put their best side together in last Thursday night's trial against Coffs, undefeated premiers from the Mid North Coast for the past two years.

Coffs brought their best, including 12 zone reps who beat Far North Coast a few weeks back. They were favoured to win well.

Grafton matched them all the way and showed that if they can reproduce that effort, they can compete with anyone in the Far North Coast.

It's a big day for Grafton with nothing to lose, so I'll tip a season opener upset and the Redmen to win by five.

-IN other games, Ballina should be too strong at Wollongbar for the Pioneers while Casino should easily account for the traditionally slow starting students at Casino. Yamba have the bye.

-A REMINDER that the NSWRU Foundation (Coaching and Refereeing) Course in on at Grafton on Sunday, April 10. Participants need to pre-register with the NSWRU. It's a great op- portunity to get qualified.

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