The Daily Examiner

Valley coaches upbeat

THE Clarence Valley's three Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League teams got through the weekend's matches injury-free, a positive in what was a fairly bleak weekend for the clubs.

All three Clarence Valley first grade teams were beaten on the weekend.

The Ghosts and the Magpies both endured tough away losses to Mullumbimby and Northern United respectively, while the Rhinos were left reeling after Byron Bay put 34 second-half points on the them on Sunday.

However, each club's coach was surprisingly upbeat yesterday.

“Everyone thought I would be really dirty after the game,” Ghosts first grade coach Col Speed said.

“(But) we were trialling a few guys in different areas and a number of different combinations.

“I think it will come, it is just a matter of time.”

Speed said the Ghosts were in a 'good frame of mind' and would work hard on the training track after isolating a number of areas to work on before this weekend's home game against Kyogle, their first outing at Frank McGuren Park for the 2009 season.

“We looked at the DVD and picked up a few things we can work on, whether it is indoors or outdoors,” Speed said.

Grafton Rhinos captain-coach Xavier Sullivan was using the loss against reigning premiers Byron Bay as a yard-stick for the rest of the season.

“It shows where we have to be,” Sullivan said.

“In the second half they didn't make too many mistakes and we only completed 50 per cent of our sets.”

Sullivan was not critical of his squad, indicating the match against Byron may have come too early in the season for the club.

“We have quite a young side and it was a pretty big step up,” he said.

“I was happy with their performances, but a few of them were disappointed, it being the first game in front of a home crowd.”

The Rhinos travel to Evans Head this weekend.

Down river, Magpies captain/coach Dallas Waters said a number of small 'improvements' across the park would yield a much stronger performance.

“It was a pretty good weekend in the fact we learnt a lot from the game,” Waters said.

“We have to control the footy and not turn it over, we have to have better discipline and we need to complete more of our sets.

“If we can get those right it will go a long way and put us in a good attitude.”

With a fit and healthy squad to work with, Waters will try to iron-out the Magpies' problem areas before hosting Casino this weekend.

“We came away (from Northern United game) injury free so that's a positive,” he said.

“At training we will do some general play stuff, work on controlling the ball ... obviously we can still improve.”

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