A physical challenge

THE Cannonballs have consistently been one of the hardest nuts to crack in Mid North Coast rugby.

A physical game plan with a pack of forwards willing to get their hands dirty means that Kempsey always promise to be a handful, especially at home like they are today.

Coffs coach Paul Butcher has been a hard taskmaster of late.

Not satisfied with merely winning each week, Butcher has been demanding that his team put in performances worthy of finals football each week.

Today's clash is no different.

"This week I'm looking at consistency in everything we do," the coash said.

"A major emphasis will be on our ball handling, particularly in the backline as I think our forwards are probably the best I have seen for many years."

A slight reshuffle of the backline sees NSW Country representative Kevin Simpson moved from his usual role in the centres to flyhalf.

Butcher is hoping that this move will create more cohesion between the halves and three-quarters.

"I'm looking at Kev to feed a lot of quick and early ball to our free running outside backs," he explained.

"Kris Flannigan is coming into inside centre after many man of the match performances in reserve grade."

Most interest from within the club will centre around the performance of reserve player Rob Ferguson.

Capable of playing both blindside flanker and loosehead prop, the 21 year-old has just arrived in Coffs Harbour from Scotland where he played for their Under 18 A team.

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