Grafton Ghosts’ Ben McLennen is tackled by the Magpies’ Anthony Hickling.
Grafton Ghosts’ Ben McLennen is tackled by the Magpies’ Anthony Hickling.

Ready to rumble

YOU have just got to love a local derby.

Rugby league fans have been handed a blockbuster game first up when the Grafton Ghosts and the Lower Clarence Magpies clash at Frank McGuren Field tomorrow.

All eyes will be on the Magpies’ new-look front-row which, according to Magpies captain Xavier Sullivan, is the best in the comp.

During the week Sullivan rated his fellow prop Ryan Binge as the number one front-rower in the game and warned other teams not to take the Magpies’ engine room lightly.

The Ghosts have also named a strong pack of forwards led by Mitchell Wicks and new signing Tom Freebody.

Ex-Magpie Freebody will line up against old mate Binge in a head-on battle which should be worth the price of admission alone.

“It will be interesting to see how our guys handle Tom,” Magpies coach Ricky Binge said yesterday.

“Ryan and Tom have been good mates and played with and against each other over the years.

“However I get the feeling there will be no love lost between the two on Sunday.”

Binge said the Magpies were keen to show fans they would be more than competitive this season and would like nothing better than to cause an upset against the 2010 premiers.

“It would be great to come away with a win; I know the boys are fired up for the game,” he said.

Former Rhinos playmaker Todd Cameron has been given the task of directing his side around the field and will be hoping his young outside backs have plenty of space to showcase their speed.

“Todd has been given the role to provide good service to our wider runners,” Binge said.

“We have two new centres who played under-18s last season.

“Robbie Howard had a couple of games in first grade last season and didn’t look out of place.

“And Young Andrew Kapeen, who has been playing five-eighth in juniors, prefers playing out wide.”

Grafton Ghosts coach Col Speed said his side will not be taking the Magpies lightly and expects a better showing from Ricky Binge’s men in 2011.

“They had pretty good structure last season but just lacked a bit of depth,” Speed said.

“The three former Rhinos players Moss, Cameron and Xavier will add more firepower.

“Last season when we played them they were very competitive especially in the first 20 minutes.”

The Ghosts will also be down on numbers with several players away on representative duties.

“We have a few out playing in the Mal Meninga Cup in Queensland and the Northern Thunderbolts have training which has left our bench a bit short,” Speed said.

The match kicks off at 2.45pm.

TeamsGrafton Ghosts1. Mitchell Lollback 2. Carson Galloway 3. Khan Williams 4. Troy Munro 5. Sam Hartmann 6. Daniel Roberts 7. Ryan Farrell 8. Mitchell Wicks 9. Rhys Walters 10. Tom Freebody 11. Aaron Hartmann 12. Ryan Danvers 13. Ben McLennanInterchange: Adam Elliott, Aaron TaylorCoach Colin Speed

Lower Clarence Magpies1. Joel Moss 2. Dan Galloway 3. Andrew Kapeen 4. Robbie Howard 5. Jack Purcell 6. Todd Cameron 7. Anthony Hickling 8. Ryan Binge 9. Tom Martin 10. Xavier Sullivan 11. Andrew Ford 12. Trent Cullen 13. Josh GormanInterchange: Dwayne Randall, Theo WoodsCoach Ricky Binge and Dallas Waters

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