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Club pride on the line for Ghosts

SHIELD SUCCESS: Coffs Harbour Comets are the current holders of the Clem Rankin Memorial Shield after captain-coach Kerrod Selmes (centre) was presented the shield by Luke and Patricia Rankin.
SHIELD SUCCESS: Coffs Harbour Comets are the current holders of the Clem Rankin Memorial Shield after captain-coach Kerrod Selmes (centre) was presented the shield by Luke and Patricia Rankin. Debrah Novak

RUGBY LEAGUE: There will be more than just the two points on the line when the Grafton Ghosts host bitter rivals Coffs Harbour Comets at Frank McGuren Field tomorrow.

The clubs will go to war in honour of former coach Clem Rankin, who led both sides during his career and was the foundation leader for the Ghosts club.

Ghosts club president Joe Kinnane said while the sides do not really need any extra motivation to rip into each other, the Clem Rankin Memorial Shield was the ultimate goal for his side.

"It is not a hidden fact that our two clubs don't like each other and there is a fair bit of feeling between the Ghosts and the Comets,” he said. "It will always be a hard-fought game between the two sides but with Clem's honour on the line it is an added incentive.

PROUD HISTORY: Inaugural coach of the Grafton Ghosts in 1963 Clem Rankin (right) with former coach Ryan Farrell in 2013.
PROUD HISTORY: Inaugural coach of the Grafton Ghosts in 1963 Clem Rankin (right) with former coach Ryan Farrell in 2013. Debrah Novak

"He was the inaugural coach of the Grafton Ghosts and it was on his legacy that the club was built. He was just an exceptional person and the values he put into the club are the values that these players have today.”

While Rankin sadly passed away in 2013 only months after the Ghosts' 50-year reunion, he will be represented by wife Pat and son Luke, who will travel up from Sydney to present the trophy to the winning captain after the siren.

The Comets are the reigning Clem Rankin Memorial Shield holders after clinching it in the dying stages of their Round 1 clash last year.

But Kinnane said the Ghosts are determined to change that and if the earlier meeting between the clubs this season - where the Ghosts came from behind to win 56-28 - is any indication, he could be backing a winner.

Rodeo-time as Ben McLennan holds on for dear life to bring Comets' Josh Fox down just sort of the try line during the Coffs Harbour Comets and Grafton Ghosts Group 2 preliminary final at Geoff King Motors Oval.
Rodeo-time as Ben McLennan holds on for dear life to bring Comets' Josh Fox down just sort of the try line during the Coffs Harbour Comets and Grafton Ghosts Group 2 preliminary final at Geoff King Motors Oval. Matthew Elkerton

That clash in Round 6 was the last time Coffs Harbour lost a game, and with the inclusion of former NRL bad boy Paul Carter, they have only come along in leaps and bounds this season.

"This game is one versus two on the ladder, and I think it will be the toughest test we face this year,” Kinnane said.

"Coffs have come a long way this season and they will put a good team on the park.”

"Carter will take his place on the field and will line up against Danny (Wicks) in the second row which shapes up as a really exciting battle.

"But there are those sort of battles across the park. Not to mention the two hookers in Todd Cameron and Coffs coach Kerrod Selmes.”

With Ben McLennan missing from action, last week's game changer Carlton Elliott gets a call up into the Ghosts' starting side.

Topics:  clarence league clem rankin memorial shield coffs comets crl grafton ghosts group 2 rugby league



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