Lethal Redmen ready to strike
FROM lethargic to lethal in four weeks. That has been the stunning transformation at the Grafton Redmen.
After a sluggish start to the season, the Australian Hotel Grafton Redmen are currently sitting in fifth place on the Far North Coast Rugby Union ladder, just three points behind fourth-placed Lennox Head.
Grafton put the cleaners through Lismore City last weekend and have a chance to further press their claims as semi-final contenders when they take on Lennox Head today at Williams Reserve Oval.
But it won't be an easy task for the in-form Redmen, who have never beaten Lennox on their home soil.
In fact the last time Grafton tasted success against the Trojans was a narrow one-point victory back in 2013 at Rugby Park, South Grafton.
With their forwards providing a strong platform up front, Grafton's backs have been able to showcase their skills out wide, crossing for nine five-pointers in each of their last two outings.
However, Grafton will enter today's blockbuster against the Trojans with an injury cloud hanging over five-eighth Nathan McPherson.
The talented pivot has been plagued by a recurring hamstring injury this season and with regular number 10 Andrew Pye and back-up five-eighth Jon Chevalley unavailable, coach Ray Collie will need to come up with a suitable replacement.
Redmen captain Sean Austin, who is also unavailable for today's game, said his side would be sweating on McPherson getting the green light to take the field in such a crucial match for both sides.
"I'm not sure what Ray will do if Nathan is out. Maybe he'll slot Kyle (Hancock) into the role but then we're down a fullback," Austin said earlier in the week.
"I can't remember the last time we beat Lennox up there. It was probably when they first entered the competition.
"Maybe it's a mental thing, I'm not sure. It's always a tough road trip and it's such a crucial game for us.
"There's a lot weighing on this game but if we can maintain the form we've produced in recent weeks there's no reason we can't come away with the points."
Grafton sit one-point outside the four in reserve grade and will need to be at their best if they are to cause an upset against Lennox, who are all-but finals bound.
Grafton has the bye in President's Cup.