Orara's chance to bounce back

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

PLAYING against Orara Valley at Coramba is a hard enough assignment on it's own. Taking them on the week after they've lost their first game of the season is even tougher.

When a bear is woken from it's hibernation it's a grumpy creature and Coffs Harbour have been lumped with the task of trying to beat the Axemen who could be at their grumpiest tomorrow.

"If Orara had of won last week it would've been a different task completely," admitted Coffs Harbour coach Scott Mieni.

"Now we've got to put up with the backlash of them coming off their first loss."

Last week the Comets team was missing key playmakers Bert Gray and Cameron Lewis from the team and tomorrow will be missing another vital member of the team.

Lock forward Will Morgan has been in sensational form over the past six weeks and could possibly be one the best tacklers in the group.

But Morgan will be absent tomorrow courtesy of a broken hand.

"He'll be out and it leaves a reasonable hole in the team," the coach said.

"What that means though is that Joel Thompson and Brad Jackson get a chance in the starting line-up after mainly being on the bench for most of the year.

"Orara will test us, they're a very good football side but if we just concentrate on doing our things well I've got every confidence that we can win."

Out Coramba way, word has it that the Axeman have been training the house down this week and captain-coach Brad Hart happily confirmed all rumours.

"You could see the attitude at training this week has been a lot better," Hart said.

"This week the way the guys trained you could see everyone was jumping out of their skin with enthusiasm.

Hart is a smart operator though who knows that a bit of enthusiasm at training doesn't solve all the Axemen's problems that have been creeping in over the past month.

The coach had a special meeting with the forward pack on Thursday night armed with a bucket load of statistics to back up his point that the forwards' work rate has dropped off and he wants their productivity back to maximum output for tomorrow's local derby.

The absence of prop Ben Ferguson won't help but be sure to expect the Orara pack to be playing grumpy and refusing to give up easy yards around the ruck.



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