Rebels not spooked by ghosts, need to beat Nambucca first
THE South Grafton Rebels are battling to keep up with the age-old cliché of playing one game at a time.
With local rugby league fans salivating at the prospect of the local derby against arch rivals the Grafton Ghosts on May 31, Rebels coach Dallas Waters said his team's thoughts had wandered that way.
"Sure the boys are talking about it," he said. "It's going to be a big game and we're going to be up for it.
"But to be right for it we really have to concentrate on the next game against Nambucca here on Sunday."
Waters said Nambucca was trying to prove themselves after coming back into the Group 2 competition this season.
"They're a tough, young side and they'll be hard to beat," he said. "They're rebuilding after being out of the comp for a year."
Waters said the success the unbeaten Rebels had enjoyed this year is based around the success of their "spine" of players in the 1, 6, 7 and 9 jumpers.
"Halfback Ant Cowan is doing exactly what we want, guiding the team around the paddock," Waters said.
"The other players understand his role and are feeding off him. Our game plan is working off him."
But Waters said none of this could work without forwards making inroads.
"Steve Walker in the front row has been outstanding," Waters said. "When the forwards are punching it up, he's right in the middle doing a great job for us."
The coach is also a fan of the talented Jeff Skeen's work on the edge of the rucks and the defensive strength of hooker Rhys Walters and Luke Welsch.
The team has backed up well from a tough match against Sawtell, which the Rebels won 38-20.
"It was a good win," Waters said. "They kept coming at us and we had to keep playing for the full 80 minutes."
The Rebels came through the encounter injury-free - something that's not lost on the coach.
"It's a good part of our success this season, that we've been able to keep pretty much the same team together all the time," he said.
"But we've also got depth, so we can always cover people if they get hurt."
1. Roy Bell
2. Jade Duroux
3. Chris Carr
4. Oral Monaghan
5. Thomas McGrady
6. Mal Webster Jr
7. Ant Cowan
8. Josh Harris
9. Rhys Walters (c)
10. Steve Walker
11. Dwayne Duke
12. Jeff Skeen
13. Luke Welsch
14. Ian Leota
Coach: Dallas Waters