AROUND THE TRAPS WITH ROD ROCKET MACPHERSON
AROUND THE TRAPS
The word around is that Port Macquarie boom recruit Ben Hennessy is a special talent. The young West Australian only flew in last Thursday and debuted with a best on ground performance last week and will make a huge difference to Port’s finals aspirations.
While on boom recruits, Evan Duyrea returned to Grafton last Saturday in dynamic fashion. Duyrea has always been a casual trainer but is super fit after his season at Southport and dominated in his first game back gathering numerous quality possessions.
We forget sometimes that footy is more than just winning and losing, a fact highlighted in a gracious gesture this week by Port President, Craig Carroll. Carroll publicly gave thanks to the Coffs Swans who travelled south with only 25 players but competed in all three grades with passion and pride. Well done Swannies and well done Crackers!
I am still amazed by some of the confusion over State of Origin refereeing decisions. Despite having multiple video reviews none of the commentators, or crowd for that matter, seemed to really understood the Hodges try ruling. At least we know when we get it wrong (or right)!
Big Weekend of Footy
What a weekend of matches! At Macksville ladder leaders Grafton take on second placed Port Macquarie while third placed Sawtell meets North Coffs (4th) at Richardson Park.
Port have looked off the pace at times this season but have a strong hold on second spot and with the inclusion of injured star Matt Newton and boom WA recruit Ben Hennessy have a menacing look to them. Hennessy impressed in his debut last week and has been rated by some as one of the most talented players going around. The Pies are taking no risks with injured stars Damon Munt and Craig Dicker who look likely to be rested today. But the Tigers are not on top for nothing and even though the trip to Macksville Park does not favour them, they should get up in a tight one.
Port coach Mick Tritton was coy about Port’s chances when contacted "We are looking toward the finals and not taking any risks at this stage of the year" the wily Carlton supporter disclosed. At least Tritton’s job looks safer than his beloved Blues coach Brett Ratten.
Saints to Bounce Back
Sawtell lost its first game in a long time last week but look set to bounce back at Richardson Park this afternoon at the expense of the North Coffs Kangaroos. The Roos themselves are in some good form but will struggle to overcome a red hot Saints outfit bristling with talent. The Saints are still missing star midfielder Todd Matthews who has been struck down by a mystery illness. Patrick Gillingham returned from a long break to boot 5 goals last week and joins Ray McGrath, Jim Angel and Ben Hooke in a powerful forward set up.
North Coffs are big improvers and this game will show just how close they are to bridging the gap to the top three sides. The challenge for coach Russ Matthews is getting all of his players to training to work on fitness and develop match drills. The coach did not look a happy man when he left the Thursday night session.