Coach says it in black and white: have fun
"ENJOY yourselves" is the message Lower Clarence league players will take onto the field with them when they take on the Casino Cougars at Queen Elizabeth Park today.
Magpies coach Ricky Binge said enjoyment and playing for pride were all the players had left after a disappointing and injury-hit season.
Binge offered his club's apologies to today's opponent for fielding only a first grade team.
"I understand it's their sponsors day today and I'm really sorry we can only provide one game for them," he said.
Binge said playing on Saturday had also made it difficult for the club.
This is because their under-18 side is mostly made up of the under-16 team, which plays their games on Saturday.
"The upside is we can bring a couple of the older under-18s, like Brandon Buckley, into first grade," he said.
Binge said injuries and a lack of commitment from some players had caused today's player number crisis.
"We've got a couple of players out because they're going on a holiday," he said.
"I'm sure if we were playing for a semi-final berth that wouldn't happen."
"Ryan Binge is trying to get back to play, but I doubt he'll make it by Saturday. If we'd played on Sunday, he would have been right."
On the field today the team will face former Magpie, Grant Brown, who has been in good form for the Cougars.
"Last time we played them they had a pretty handy forward pack," Binge said.
"And we need to be careful of their fullback, Dave Briggs. He's pretty quick."
Binge said new captain Andrew Kapeen is starting to run the team well from five-eighth.
"His kicking game is getting better and better each week," Binge said.
"In reality, though, it's been hard to get the team together, so really they've got use their natural ability and go out there and enjoy themselves the best they can.
"There's only three games left in the season so all they can play for is enjoyment and a bit of pride."
Magpies v Casino
1. Clay Marks
2. Brandon Buckley
3. DJ Eamons
4. Anthony Hickling
5. James Fairweather
6. Andrew Kapeen (c)
7. Lewis Appo
8. Steve Austine
9. Tas Randall
10. Jordan Walker
11. Travis Gibson
12. Nathan Blanch
13. Rhys Appo
Coach: Ricky Binge.