Grafton Ghosts’ Mitch Wicks fends off the defence in the match against Kyogle Turkeys at McGuren Oval.
Grafton Ghosts’ Mitch Wicks fends off the defence in the match against Kyogle Turkeys at McGuren Oval.

Ghosts the favourites for shield

BALLINA coach and former NRL player Brian Battese has a simple message for the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) administrators: handicap the Ghosts.

Battese is under no illusions when it comes to who is the side to beat in 2010.

“Whoever play the Ghosts should get points start,” Battese told the Examiner.

The Ghosts are odds-on favourites to take out the pre-season Charity Shield final against Battese’s Seagulls side at Frank McGuren Park tomorrow.

After disposing of Marist Brothers in round 1 and Cudgen Hornets in round 2 of the Charity Shield Ballina will need to find another gear against a Ghosts’ team bristling with confidence. Fresh from a 66-6 thrashing of the Kyogle Turkeys last weekend the Ghosts’ star-studded line-up should prove too strong for a young Seagulls side. Battese, who is regarded as having one of the best rugby league minds in the competition, said his side for the game against the Ghosts has an average age of just 20.

“We have a very young side...I think the oldest player is only 22,” Battese said.

“We also have a couple of juniors away on representative duties with the under-18 side.”

One player Battese signalled out as a possible dangerman for the final was Ghosts lock-forward Don Dickson who he believes is a player of untapped talent.

“I’ve been coaching in the area for a number of years and was the development officer for 10 years and Don Dickson is the best player to come through the whole north coast area,” Battese said.

“The Ghosts were the most consistent side last season and add Danny Wicks to their side and they look almost unbeatable.

“Danny can do nothing for 78 minutes then pull-off three devastating bursts.”

Battese added his side needs more time to work on defence and attacking patterns but are slowly developing into a formidable unit.

“We have really only been getting everyone at training in the last week or two. We have been working on our defence and we haven’t had that much time to work on attack,” he said. “At this stage we just need to use the KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid - principle.”

Action in the junior grades start at 11am before the senior matches. Lower Clarence play Cudgen in the under-18s for third/fourth playoff before the Ghosts play Murwillumbah.



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