Brothers in arms
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IF AN Orara Valley player cops a heavy hit tomorrow, it could be very easy for the Axeman to think he's seeing triple when he looks at the Seahorse's line-up.
On the other side of the advantage line will be the three Vines brothers all trying their hardest to inflict defeat on Orara for the first time this season while looking to further establish Woolgoolga's reputation as a genuine finals contender.
It's not often in country Rugby League that a first grade team contains three brothers but Woolgoolga's team has more Vines in it than a meeting for the Tarzan appreciation society now that Brad, 32, Grant, 30 and Drew, 26 are all playing together again.
"We last played together in 1999 when Peter Phillips was coach," Grant said.
"I thought that was the last chance we'd have to play together."
Of the three brothers, it's probably fair to say that Grant has been the most relaxed about his football, playing on an irregular basis since 1999, and haven't his brothers let him know about it.
"They tried to get me out to Orara with them but I'm Woolgoolga through and through," Grant said defending himself.
It didn't take long for the siblings to go at it again.
"We'd call him a 'pussy' for not having a go," Drew offered.
"And I'd just smack them in the mouth," Grant replied.
So if 1999 didn't turn out to be the last time the three played together, will 2005 be the swansong for Woolgoolga's leading football family?
"It's up to Brad, he's the old boy," joked Drew.
Brad did admit that at the start of the year he thought that this would definitely be the last time, but now that the morale around the Seahorses' camp is so high, he's having second thoughts.
"We'll just see how it goes," he said.
"I'm certainly enjoying my football at the moment."
The three brothers might be enjoying their footy but they're also in form at the moment.
Over the last four matches, the three brothers have picked up a players' player award each.
The Seahorses have won four of their last five matches and are now sitting in second place on the table.
Tomorrow they play host to the undefeated Orara Valley and the Vines crew believe that all the pressure of the day is firmly resting on the shoulders of the Axemen.
"Crossy (Seahorses playing coach John Cross) said that 'It's a win-win situation for us because no-one expects us to win'," Drew said.
"Our attitude though is that we can win," Brad added.
"Orara know that they're in for a different game this time."
When the two sides met earlier in the season, the Axemen wiped the floor with Woolgoolga thrashing them 78-16.
Tomorrow though, the Seahorses will be running out with a completely different line-up to the one which played at Coramba in mid-April.
Although the brothers have the utmost respect for their former coach and good friend Lee Harvey, they have no hesitation in identifying John Cross as the main reason behind Woolgoolga's resurgence in 2005.
"Nothing against Lee but I think he was too good of a mate with all the guys," Grant said.
"Crossy has come in with his NRL experience and he's been there and done that."
"There's also a good attitude towards training," Brad added.
"If you trained and put in at the start of the year, Crossy picked you in first grade."
"The guys know that if they don't come to training they're on the bench regardless of who they are," finished Drew.
While Cross has done a fine job so far this season with the Seahorses, his task has certainly been made easier by the fact that nearly a quarter of his starting line-up come from the same household.