READY TO POUNCE: Maclean Bobcats reserves captain Nathan Shugg finds open space in a game against Westlawn earlier this season.
READY TO POUNCE: Maclean Bobcats reserves captain Nathan Shugg finds open space in a game against Westlawn earlier this season. Sport in Digital

Claws out for Bobcats grand final clash

FOOTBALL: They have been the strongest defensive outfit in the North Coast Football reserve grade this season, and the Maclean Bobcats will be calling on all their ability at the back to steer them to a premiership tomorrow.

In what is the club's third reserves grand final in the past four years, they will line up against a resilient Coffs United Lions who are coming off a strong finish in the preliminary final last weekend.

The Bobcats will be riled up after narrowly missing the minor premiership to Boambee, let down by their goal difference. But according to goalkeeper and club president Matt Farrell that has been pushed to the back of their minds.

"We aren't here to win the minor premiership, we want the big one," he said. "The feeling around the side is really positive. We had a few guys pick up some niggling injuries late in the year, so having the weekend off before the grand final has probably helped."

 

Maclean Bobcats reserves goalkeeper Matt Farrell dives full-stretch to make a save against Urunga Raiders.
Maclean Bobcats reserves goalkeeper Matt Farrell dives full-stretch to make a save against Urunga Raiders. Sport in Digital

While he conceded the least goals of all keepers across the competition, Farrell said it had nothing to do with his ability.

"Chalk that one up to the blokes in front of me," he said.

"In the semi-final I didn't even have to make a save. I have had in excess of 10 different centre back pairings this season, but it hasn't made a difference. Everyone who has stepped up has been great."

The side has been well led by calm and collected captain Nathan Shugg in the midfield, with plenty of big game experience across the park. Former premier league champions Lance Knibbs and Kevin Crofton have also led by example for the young players coming through the ranks.

"The players that have filled in for us over the year, plugging gaps across the park have been fantastic," he said.

"We had a second grade striker fill in at left back for us and still doing as good as you want in first grade."

The Bobcats will be sweating on the fitness of striker Josh Ackerman, but Farrell said the side had the firepower to cover his absence.

The club will take a supporters bus to C.ex International Stadium leaving the Maclean Bowling Club at midday.



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