It's now or never
GETTING a full-strength team on the paddock has been a concern for co-coaches Ricky Binge and Dallas Waters this season.
Injuries to key players have severely interrupted the Lower Clarence Magpies' NRRRL campaign in 2011.
Against Marist Brothers tomorrow at Raymond Laurie Field, Yamba, the home side have been dealt yet another blow.
Star centre Dan Randall will miss the game due to a suspected hairline fracture of the cheekbone, but the good news is several players are set to return to the field.
“Dan is having x-rays on his jaw and is under an injury cloud,” Binge told the Examiner yesterday.
“It is a blow having Dan out but we do have a few players back for Sunday's game.
“Mossy (Joel Moss) is back and Anthony Hickling will return to the halfback role.”
Hickling – a utility back – returns from injury and will replace Jason James in the No7 jumper.
James can consider himself unlucky after putting in a whole-hearted performance against the Mustangs last week.
But according to Binge, Hickling's ability to direct the team around the field – combined with his on-field talk – has been missing in recent weeks.
“Anthony is a good talker and can drive the team around the field,” Binge said.
“Jason has been in good form but we thought it a better option to start him on the bench.
“He'll be fresh and can cover at fullback or halfback.
The Magpies struggled to complete their sets against Murwillumbah last week which is something Binge and Waters have addressed at training during the week.
“I think the team is fit enough but we are our own worst enemy in attack,” Binge said.
“We have been turning the ball over too much which means we are always defending.
“Last week we would have defended for at least 60 minutes and you just can't do that. The players get too tired and have nothing left in attack.”
Binge added the players have responded well after their loss to Mustangs and are “raring to go”.
“The boys were really keen at training during the week and can't wait to take on Marist,” he said
“We worked on our ball retention and have constructed what we believe to be a good game plan.”
The David Kraus-coached Marist Brothers have only one win to their name after five rounds, defeating Casino 18-16 at home.
Last week they suffered a shock 34-28 loss to Kyogle.