Did our Redmen make the grade?
WITH the halfway point of the Mid North Coast Rugby season just ticking over, The Daily Examiner's rugby correspondent Gary Nichols looks at each side and how they are faring in 2018.
An undefeated Grafton Redmen remain on top of the ladder with Hastings Valley Vikings hot on their heels. While at the other end of the ladder, an underdone Wauchope struggles for results.
GRAFTON REDMEN A+
So far have exceeded all expectations this season. They have taken their football to another level and are yet to taste defeat.
Playing depth has been the key for the Redmen and the acquisition of genuine match-winners in the backs has given them a renewed confidence.
Handling the pressure of finals footy is an unknown but on present form will give the title one hell of a shake.
HASTINGS VIKINGS A
Slow start to the season but have been building momentum and again look a genuine threat to take out the premiership.
Plenty of big name players who know how to win games at the pointy end of the season. But they do have a host of players on the wrong side of 30.
Vikings will still be reeling after last years shock grand final loss to Marlins and will be keen to make amends in 2018.
SCU MARLINS B+
The reigning premiers have a knack of winning tight games. An astute coach and a wealth of talent at their disposal, Marlins have the ability to come home with a wet sail.
The return of explosive fullback Josh Rayner adds extra spark to their backline and with NSW Country representative Sam Callow joining their ranks this year Marlins still have plenty of firepower.
COFFS SNAPPERS B
Most pundits had them down as favourites at the start of the competition.
Snappers have endured an up and down season and currently sit in third place on the ladder.
Coffs have a young backline who are not afraid to spread the ball and a frugal up-in-your face defence that can frustrate opposition sides.
PORT PIRATES C+
It's been a licorice allsorts kind of season for Pirates and will need a massive turnaround to salvage their season.
Lost a host of players this season and lack experience in key positions. Showed they have plenty of fight when they came from behind last round against Grafton to almost snatch a miraculous victory.
Need other games to go their way if they want to play finals football.
KEMPSEY CANNONBALLS C
On their day they have the attacking arsenal to worry most sides.
Unpredictable with ball in hand, the Cannonballs never die wondering.
Depth is a major concern and their ability to close out games has been their Achilles heel this season. Must win away games if they wish to be serious title contenders.
WAUCHOPE THUNDER D-
It has been another horror season for the Thunder who have leaked more than 500-points in only seven games.
Certain to pick up back-to-back wooden spoons, Wauchope are clearly out of their depth.
Serious questions have to be asked how they remain in the top-grade; it's not good for them or the competition.
LADDER: 35 Grafton Redmen, 31 Hastings Valley Vikings, 21 Coffs Snappers, 17 SCU Marlins**, 17 Port Pirates, 10 Kempsey Cannonballs, 0 Wauchope Thunder. ** denotes game in hand.