Coast ?rats? set trap for rivals
By MITCHELL DALE
NORTH Coast rugby league coach Mark Morrison is smart enough to realise you can't breed rabbits from rats.
He knows it is pointless trying to manufacture a game plan based on flair to beat Central Coast in today's NSW Country Championships opener at Forster.
But Morrison is prepared to sacrifice style for an unattractive, grinding game plan if it means his squad has a chance of upsetting a Central Coast outfit stacked with Jim Beam Cup players.
Razzle dazzle is out. Ugly, boring footy is in.
Morrison happily admits he will instruct his players to push the letter of the law to it's furthest extent today.
He admits they will give away penalties at times in a bid to slow Central Coast momentum.
They're not pretty tactics, but Morrison believes it is North Coast's best chance.
"I know it is boring footy, but it won Newcastle (an NRL) grand final a few years ago against Parramatta," he said.
"In each set of six there will be two scoots (from dummy half), the wingers know their job in that regard It will be boring, crappy footy.
"At times, we will have to give away a few penalties in defence to slow them down and frustrate them.
"We'll do all the crappy things a football side does when they can't match their opposition ? (things like) holding down in the play-the-ball, scoots from dummy half and being off-side.
"We'll do that for the first 20 minutes and if we are still in the game at that stage, I think we're a chance."
Just because he has designed a grinding game plan, Morrison will not attempt to curb the attacking genius of halves Nev Donovan and Will Baker, fullback Dave Pickvance and reserve back Ben McCarthy.
But he will instruct them to pick their time.
"They have not been left out and there will be opportunities for them to chime in," he said. "But they have to do it when the opposition are back-pedalling."
North Coast has undergone even more changes during the week, with former NRL prop Phil Adamson out of the squad, along with Taree City hooker Dean Simpson.
Gimbisi Valley captain-coach Willy Lockwood comes onto the bench along with talented Group 3 Under-18 player Sam McCartney.
NORTH COAST: 1. Dave Pickvance (Macksville), 2. Luke Sprague (Port Macquarie), 3. Joel Asher (Port Macquarie), 4. Nigel Latham (Wingham), 5. Nathan Davies (Sawtell), 6. Will Baker (Nambucca Heads), 7. Nev Donovan (Macksville), 8. Aaron Considine (Orara Valley), 9. Tristan Hamilton-Giggins (Orara Valley), 10. Jeremy Beasley (Old Bar), 11. Chris Piper (Macksville), 12. Dean Basham (Forster-Tuncurry), 13. Matt Finlayson (Forster-Tuncurry). Reserves: 14. Ben McCarthy (Orara Valley), 15. Dan Murray (Wingham), 16. Willy Lockwood (Gimbisi Valley), 17. Sam McCartney (Taree City).