Grafton Redmen centre Dwayne Duke will have his hands full today when he comes up against Lennox Head and current NSW Country centre Sam Stewart.
Grafton Redmen centre Dwayne Duke will have his hands full today when he comes up against Lennox Head and current NSW Country centre Sam Stewart.

Redmen to be tested

THE Grafton Redmen will be tested to the max when they take on competition heavyweights Lennox Heads at Rugby Park today.

The Trojans will go into the game as raging favourites, and with good reason.

Lennox remains undefeated this season and is well on the way to their fourth Far North Coast (FNC) premiership in a row.

And having the luxury of four current NSW Country representatives in the side has certainly helped their cause.

Sam Stewart, Jeff Wilson, Matt Liddle and Mick Muir have all been part of the successful Cockatoo's this season but, according to Trojans coach Paul Jeffrey, Wilson will miss today's clash.

“Sam, Matt and Mick will all be playing as there is no representative game this weekend,” Jeffrey told the Examiner during the week.

Lennox, which has been the benchmark of FNC competition in recent years, boasts plenty of strike power out wide, headed by their classy inside centre Stewart.

“Sam is certainly a quality player,” Jeffrey said.

“He'll play at inside centre in the first-half this weekend, and we'll probably move him to outside in the second-half.

“We also have a handy player in our five-eighth Adam Gordon. He played halfback last year, but we moved him to No 10 this season.”

The Redmen showed glimpses of form in their last game against Wollongbar-Alstonville.

Their forwards were first to the breakdown, their scrum was solid and their outside backs capitalised after receiving plenty of clean ball.

All signs point to a Lennox victory and the question remains: have the Redmen got enough firepower up front and scoring ability out wide to trouble the Trojans?

The clash between Stewart and Grafton inside centre Dwayne Duke should be an interesting one. Stewart has proven himself at the top level and Duke is still learning the finer points of the game.

But one thing for sure is the former Grafton Rhinos' back will be out to stamp his authority on the game early.

“It will be a good test for us and Dukey,” Redmen captain/coach Brad Lloyd said. “It will be a good chance to see how we're going.

“We won't be expecting any miracles. The game will be won or lost in the forwards. I don't expect them to get over our backs.”

Duke will be partnered in the centres by Chris Adamson, another league convert, while in-form back Scott Lloyd will miss the game through injury.

“Scott could be out for up to six weeks with a broken hand,” Lloyd said

“We pretty much have the same team as last game, but we welcome back Kyle Hancock at fullback.”



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