Do or die time for the Grafton Redmen

HUGE ASSIGNMENT: Redmen inside centre Ed McGrath will line up against former Waratahs and Reds player A.J. Gilbert in Sunday's elimination semi-final.
HUGE ASSIGNMENT: Redmen inside centre Ed McGrath will line up against former Waratahs and Reds player A.J. Gilbert in Sunday's elimination semi-final. Gary Nichols

RUGBY UNION: Ed McGrath is gearing up for the biggest game in his rugby career in Sunday's do-or-die semi-final against SCU Marlins.

The 24-year-old barnstorming ball carrier has been a revelation at inside centre this season and on Sunday will line up against arguably the competition's best player in A J Gilbert.

A country boy at heart and former back-rower, McGrath admits he's more at ease on the farm tending his cattle than donning the number-12 Redmen jumper.

And he's not afraid to admit his liking for R.M. Williams apparel and listening to a spot of country music on the radio.

"I'm definitely more comfortable being on the farm and around cattle than playing inside centre,” McGrath said.

"I've always been on the farm working with cattle. I even worked on Alexandria Downs in the Northern Territory as a Ringer for eighteen months.

"At first I felt like a fish out of water playing in the backs but I'm getting used to it and having Kyle (Hancock) at five-eighth has helped me a lot.”

There's no doubting if the Redmen can match Marlins in the backs it will go a long way towards securing a win. Led by former Waratahs and Queensland Reds player A J Gilbert, Uni have one of the most potent back lines in the competition.

"AJ's obviously a bloody good football player. He's played Super 15 rugby to start with,” McGrath said.

"It is a bit daunting playing opposite him but I think I've held my own against him this season.”

Gilbert, who will play for Woolgoolga against Sawtell in the Group 2 elimination semi-final on Saturday, said he is expecting another tough weekend of football.

"I'm not as young as I used to be so playing two games on the weekend is a bit tough,” Gilbert said during the week.

"The worst thing is it's a bit hard rocking up for work on Monday morning.”

Like McGrath, Gilbert has played most of his footy in the loose forwards.

However, Marlins coach Dwayne Vignes has utilised his silky skills and experience in the centres.

"I suppose growing up in Dorrigo you don't have the numbers so you play where you're needed,” he said.

For McGrath, victory against Marlins will provide him with the perfect excuse from redeveloping a house and farm he recently purchased on the outskirts of Grafton.

"Playing rugby on the weekend has slowed progress on the house and farm. There is a lot of work to do but I had to take a step back because of rugby,” he said.

Grafton Redmen take on Southern Cross University at Marlin Park on Sunday, with first grade kicking off at 3pm.

Topics:  grafton redmen mid north coast rugby union rugby union

12 things to do this week

Cast of Curtains, the new show at the Criterion Theatre in Grafton.

There's plenty on this week in the Clarence Valley

Major changes to council management structure

Clarence Valley Council building on Prince Street, Grafton.

Three senior positions slashed as part of Fit For The Future savings

Marine engineer to look at rock pool

DANGER: The Yamba Ocean Pool at Main Beach has been closed by Clarence Valley Council

Council vote sees pool may still have a future

Local Partners

Liberty for all children at Jacaranda Park

All-abilities playground to set the standard for parks in the Clarence Valley

Third time lucky for memorial day

REMEMBRANCE: Loved ones and fellow truck drivers will come from as far as Sydney and Queensland to remember those who have lost their lives on the roads at the Grafton Truck Drivers Social Club Memorial Wall Service on Saturday.

Truck drivers memorial service scheduled for this Saturday

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

The finance solution for Clarence Valley's poorest residents

GOOD BUSINESS: Director Dr Masum Isa and CEO of Grameen Australia Duncan Power with Bendigo Community Bank South Grafton director Karen Toms and chair Peter James.

Social business group provides beneficial alternative to welfare

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

JENNIFER Lawrence has been dethroned as Hollywood’s highest paying actress by another star. Can you guess who?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

She’s definitely not shy to pose in a bikini.

Life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley.

Big Bang Theory star spills details about Season 11

Mayim Bialik plays Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory.

MAYIM Bialik has shared some details about what fans can expect.

The Bachelor Australia: Awful joke leaves Matty stunned

Sharlene’s mouth hangs agape after her car crash breakup.

I’m actually one of the bachelorettes — I’m not the external caterer

Samsung set for bigger, beach friendly Note 8

Samsung will be going bigger than ever to launch its Note 8 after this year's launch of the S8.

Water, dust, now sand-resistant?

GoT fan’s epic ‘Littlefinger’ theory

A fan has shared her epic theory on Littlefinger.

SPOILER ALERT: One fan has shared a shock theory.

199 home sites approved in Evans Head

The Evans Head Manufactured Home Estate plans. Zoran Architecture.

Manufactured Home estate approved near aerodrome

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Reports of Ibrahim family connections to farm and food hub

John Ibrahimat Bluesfest 2012.

REPORTS circulate colourful Sydney family have investments on the NR