By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IF Douglas Wood were a Group 2 fan and he showed up tomorrow at Coramba Sportsground, he could be forgiven for thinking that Orara Valley and Coffs Harbour had swapped some players in the sheds before kick-off.
Lining up for Coffs Harbour will be former Axemen Shaun Hart, Grant Douglass and Anthony Donovan while Orara Valley will have long time Comets Grant Vincent and Alan Jones starting in their team.
While Jones can see the funny side of the revolving door recruiting that has taken place this year, he knows that it will be no laughing matter when tomorrow's battle for the Ken Orr Memorial Shield gets underway.
"It will be a rugged game as you'd expect in a local derby," the Orara second-rower said.
"There will be a little bit of niggle but everyone's attitude is what happens on the field stays on the field."
And that is the beauty of the rivalry between Coffs Harbour and Orara Valley. The players are fierce rivals on the field yet firm friends away from the field of battle.
Even though Jones crossed over to the Axemen at the start of this season with Vincent and the injured Tyler Corfe, he still remains close and loyal to the friends he made at the Comets during many years service to the club.
"I still catch up with a lot of the Comets boys," he explained.
"We ring each other up every now and again and have a go but we're still all mates."
Orara Valley suffered their first defeat of the season last week and according to Jones, that could spell trouble for Coffs Harbour.
"We just have to improve from last week's performance, especially in a couple of little areas that let us down."