GHOSTS captain Ryan Farrell has rubbished claims from the captain-coach of the Rhinos that the Ghosts are a shadow of the team they were last season.
GHOSTS captain Ryan Farrell has rubbished claims from the captain-coach of the Rhinos that the Ghosts are a shadow of the team they were last season. Debrah Novak

Farrell fuels football fire

GRAFTON Ghosts captain Ryan Farrell has hit back at suggestions his side is ripe for the picking in Sunday's local rugby league derby at McKittrick Park.

The Daily Examiner reported yesterday Grafton Rhinos captain-coach Xavier Sullivan saying this year's Ghosts squad was not the side 'they were last year' and his players were on track to 'expose their weaknesses'.

However, Farrell said Sullivan's comments were 'way off the mark', shooting down the notion his side was on the verge of being found out.

“Obviously Sullivan was at (last weekend's) game and saw us when we were a bit flat,” he said.

“But there's nothing like a local derby to pick us up.

“I think the Rhinos will be lucky not to be on the end of a very good Ghosts squad.”

Farrell said he was confused regarding Sullivan's analysis of his team's weaknesses, asserting the Ghosts had turned the ship around in the defensive department.

“I'm not real sure what (Sullivan) is talking about there,” he said.

“We have a good defence across the park ... and, on average, have only conceded 15 points a game.”

However, it was Sullivan's nod to Ken Mercy in last year's battle of the centres which really bemused Farrell.

Sullivan claimed Mercy 'had it all over Aaron Hartmann last year', but Farrell was quick to point out Hartmann's match-winning performance in the second local derby at McKittrick Park.

“Xavier doesn't have a good memory because Aaron carved up Mercy (in that game),” he said.

“He virtually won us the game and it was on Ken's edge of the park.”

With some players still settling into the squad, and with the season still in its infancy, Farrell admitted 'silly little mistakes' had crept into the Ghosts' performances.

However, Farrell predicted league fans, and Rhinos players, would finally witness the devastating form which took the Ghosts all the way to last year's grand final.

“The derby is very, very physical and is always a good game,” he said.

“We have a lot more depth and our attack is ready to click into gear.

“The team is looking forward to it.”



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