Under attack

By MITCHELL DALE

THE brick wall that has been Orara Valley's defensive line in 2005 is set to come under attack from a wrecking ball named Macksville in tomorrow's Group 2 clash at Allan Gillett Oval.

The Axemen are conceding an average of just 15 points a game in 2005, but Macksville captain-coach Paul Davis says that figure will take a pounding this weekend.

"Over the last three or four years, sides have (only) had good defensive records until they have met Macksville," Davis says.

"We have so many good players who can create opportunities out of nothing.

"I know Orara's defence has improved this year, but they haven't played Macksville yet.

"I'm not too worried about their defence, I'm more worried getting our (defence) right, we know we can score points against anyone."

Orara Valley captain-coach Brad Hart agrees that tomorrow will be his side's litmus test.

"Yeah for sure, they are a very classy team and we have got to be careful," Hart says.

"We don't know much about them because of all the chopping and changing they have done.

"But after (what has happened in) previous matches, they obviously like playing sides above them on the ladder."

While the Axemen's defence has been top-notch, Hart will be looking for an improvement with the ball.

"We have just got to continue what we have been doing in defence, but our handling has let us down recently and we've had a few second-half lapses," he said.

So far this season Macksville have been inconsistenly consistent - if that makes any sense.

One week they are on fire, the next week they're ice cold.

But, if they continue their trend of one week on, one week off, the Sea Eagles are set to ignite against the Axemen after a poor performance against Bellingen last weekend.

"We need to show the urgency and intensity that we had against Port Macquarie (two weeks ago), that was definitely missing against Bellingen," Davis said.

Macksville received a timely boost at training on Tuesday when mercurial five-eighth Gary Jarrett showed up for his first gallop of the season.

"Gary might be looking for a run in reserve grade this week and then sit on the bench for (first grade)," Davis said.

"Having him back would be a big boost, plus all my rep players will be fresh.

"The games we haven't performed well in have been when our rep players have been backing up from a game on Saturday."

Orara have suffered a major blow ahead of the match, with half/five-eighth Brett Davis ruled out due to a leg injury.



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