Port Macquarie left egg on my face
WITH half the season complete it's time to check the report card on progress so far.
Macleay Valley and Port Macquarie are the only sides I'm yet to see in the flesh so my 'observations' are based on intelligence from other sources.
As for the others, if noses are out of joint, tough.
I take it back.
They are not going to be the also-ran's I was led to believe they would be.
Tough forwards and lightning quick backs have brought them a long way.
But because coach Pascoe has stepped back in time to seize on old Paul Douglas tactic I've warmed to their chances.
Use the big boys to grind up the opposition then bring on the young blokes who can run wide around those tired old legs on the other side.
Works every time.
Have built their season on forward power, Willy Lockwood genius and the inspiration given by Kurt Hancock.
But there's not a great deal of dash out wide and when at least four opponents have an over supply of flair, once the blowtorch is applied, they may struggle to do any better than falling into fifth spot.
That said, let's hail them as one of the great success stories of the year for the way they've crawled off the bottom.
Will be flat out to win a game.
Too small, too few players with first grade ability and no capacity to focus for 80 minutes, let alone a single set of six.
If they do manage to knock off some unsuspecting party it would be an occasion of calling in the swabbing stewards and telling them all to pee in those little bottles.
This is twilight time of their incomparable era, make no mistake of that.
But that doesn't mean they can't win this premiership.
What happens from June 25 when they get past the 'Gimbisi double' will sort out their chances but I suddenly see the Mightys with the right hand blinker flashing and preparing to overtake the slowpokes ahead of them.
If they get into the semis with Gonzo back, they'll rocket to competition favouritism no matter how well the others are travelling.
Despite their wishy washy form I still reckon they can make things interesting.
But for heaven's sake, the handling is woeful.
Lads, take it from me.
Don't get yourselves into a situation where you look back on the year and find you didn't make the playoffs because of your inability to handle the basics of catching and passing the football.
SAWTELL Extremely talented team with a terrible, heartbreaking capacity to be very good one day then awful the next.
Sorry boys, nobody fears you any more.
Until you get your old aggression back and be consistent like the coach wants you to be, you could be sliding out the back gate in the weeks to come.
Decision time has arrived and it's all up to you.
COFFS HARBOUR After promising so much are now nothing more than nuisance value.
It's easy to tell the blokes having a go because there are about six of them who play themselves into the ground every week while the rest only put in when the mood suits.
Wonder if the Mighty Mo should start swinging the axe, knowing well he's not going to win many but he's going to pull a few loafers down a peg or three?
Will need a miracle to make the five.
Like my opinion on the Sharks, I was wrong.
Mr. Magic has done one of the best coaching jobs ever to make so many old bones and new faces not just competitive but one of the most likely to play the decider.
The day they get close to perfection, and Matt is the hardest, most demanding marker in the business, I reckon they are going to give some mob a thrashing they will never forget.
At last, I'm convinced.
Two losses suggest they are the team to beat.
The loss in the Stadium trial where they coasted and the one at Coramba last week when they copped the result on the chin and treated it as a learning experience.
They can change playing style within a game and know how to fight their way out of trouble.
Honestly, I reckon they are only playing at around 60 per cent capacity and when they reach their peak, look out.
n Club Championship points: Port Macquarie 90, Woolgoolga 76, Orara Valley 76, Macleay Valley 73, Sawtell 59, Nambucca Heads 56, Coffs Harbour 50, Macksville 30 and Gimbisi Valley 24.
Woopi have never won a club championship but who's saying this won't be their year?
I reckon if they are going to win it the key will be consistency in their under 18's.
Come on you young blokes, over to you.
n The whisper is Rick Purton is on the comeback trail.
In the words of one club presso after the colourful adjectives were deleted: "Not before time."
And so say all of us.
The referee situation has reached anarchy, a subject to be discussed in this column in coming weeks.
n One game only the weekend.
It's the catch up match between the Warriors and the Mightys, played tomorrow at Verge Street from 2pm.
The computer selects: Macksville 66 Gimbisi Valley .