THERE have been many hard fought battles over the years between Sawtell and Nambucca Heads but the fact of the matter is it has been nearly six years since the Roosters have enjoyed a win over Sawtell.
There has been a draw between the two since then but it was way back in May 2004 that Nambucca Heads last overcame the reigning premiers.
The signs early in the season though do suggest that the drought may be about to end.
The Roosters impressed many Group 2 pundits with their trial match performance against Sawtell three weeks ago and there was plenty to like about their 42-0 thumping of Macleay Valley in last week’s season opener.
New coach Garren Stigg is trying his hardest to downplay expectations though.
“We’re just trying to keep a lid on it because we’re not really sure until Kempsey have another result exactly how well we went,” Stigg said.
“We played really well but I’m not sure how good the opposition was. That’s my only concern, we’re just trying to keep a lid on it for that reason.”
The fact is Stigg is enjoying having plenty of experienced players taking the field for him each week as he admits it’s making his job a whole lot easier.
“I’m just like the Dad,” Stigg joked.
“Come game day I just talk to them in the shed about what I want then it is up to them. They’ve got enough experience out there now and you throw in a couple of good young kids, it’s probably a good blend.
“I let them have their say then I have my say. They know my say is the last one but everyone is allowed to say their ideas.”
Even though the Panthers started their season with a win, Panthers’ captain-coach Rohan Loudon is expecting a tough encounter tomorrow at Rex Hardaker Oval.
“They’ll be out to get us,” Loudon said.
“(Garry) Jarrett didn’t play against us last time so that will make a big difference for them.
“They seemed to have improved everywhere from last year, they’ll be a real dark horse I reckon.”
Nambucca Heads have lost hooker Matt Field for tomorrow’s clash while Damian Irvine and Luke Hemsworth return to the starting line-up for Sawtell in place of injured pair Zac Maxwell and Kris Watson.