Macksville mighty once again
By GREG WHITE
THE Macksville Sea Eagles are back in business and local derbies don't come any bigger than their clash with Nambucca Heads at Coronation Park tomorrow.
After a year suffering a premiership hangover four times worse than normal -- after all, there was a quartet of titles to savour -- the Eagles have got their groove back and sit unbeaten on top of the ladder.
"The boys put things together in those first three wins but there was a bit of shock value," club secretary Bill Richardson believes.
"Skill levels have never been higher but the side has a lot of fitness work to do and Maxy (coach Max McGovern) is devoting a lot of time to that."
The subject of 'fitness' when applied to Macksville is vastly different to other outfits and one coach who believes they're better than before is Bellingen boss Brad Hart.
And he should know, being coach of Orara Valley when hammered in the 2005 decider and on the receiving end last Sunday when the Magpies went down 60-16.
"This could be their best side ever and the difference is the discipline has improved and Max has some brilliant young kids to work with," he said.
"I had a beer with him and Gonzo (Garry Jarrett) after the game and they told me how focused and hungry they are.
"And Paul Davis is playing so well you won't believe it till you see it."
While the Eagles ooze confidence, rival Rooster coach Geoff Batten is just as comfortable with his side's preparation.
"There were some problems a couple of weeks back but that's settled down," he said.
"Beating Coffs lifted us after two narrow losses and we'll be all right."
Meanwhile, the match-up between Orara Valley and Sawtell at Coramba has lost some of its sparkle with the charismatic Brett Davis forced to withdraw after injuring his back against Woolgoolga.
"But you know know what Uncle Brett is like," Axemen secretary Darren McEwan laughed.
"He might decide he feels okay and sit on the bench anyway."