Today's minor preliminary semi final between Sawtell and Bellingen at Rex HardakerOval promises to be a thriller.
Today's minor preliminary semi final between Sawtell and Bellingen at Rex HardakerOval promises to be a thriller. Rob Wright/Coffs Coast Advocate

Battling Bellingen's big test

WITH only 12 senior players signed on before its first pre-season game, Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo has surprised many by playing finals footy.

This afternoon the Magpies head to Rex Hardaker Oval to take on last year's competition winner Sawtell in a sudden-death elimination match.

Bellingen coach Brandon Costin knows today's clash will be the toughest his side has faced all season.

"We will have to play incredibly well if we are to stand a chance," Costin said.

"The finals are different to anything else we have done this season and it will be incredibly difficult up against a side like Sawtell on its own turf.

"Sawtell are the only side to defeat Nambucca this season, so you have to come into the game ready to play."

While Sawtell might have finished higher on the ladder, it has been Bellingen that has proven victorious in the two teams' previous encounters this season.

"Both times we have played Bello we have suffered from slow starts and have been caught out," Sawtell co-captain coach Damian Irvine said.

"The element of surprise isn't there any more and we expect them to come out firing."

TODAY'S DETAILS

Kick-off: 2.45pm

Referee: Nathan Grace

SAWTELL PANTHERS

1 Ned Cryer, 2 Daniel Quinn, 3 John Fogarty, 4 Nathan Davies, 5 Warren Jarrett, 6 Danny Russell, 7 Troy Robinson, 8 Damian Irvine, 9 Nick English, 10 Josh Lewis, 11 Eddie Harrison, 12 Brian Dulin, 13 Brad Hart. Interchange: 14 Zac O'Brien, 15 Daniel Klaasen.

BELLINGER VALLEY-DORRIGO MAGPIES

1 Luke Beaumont, 2 Blake OÇonnor, 3 Joe Wilson, 4 Stuart Kelly, 5 Daniel Sangster, 6 Jerry Key, 7 Matt Donovan, 8 Callan Tapine, 9 Anthony Donovan, 10 John Love-Henry, 11 Brandon Costin, 12 Darren Byrne, 13 Corey Sinclair. Interchange: 14 Peter Glyde, Ryan OÇonnor.

Reserrve grade: Macksville v Port Macquarie 1.15pm

Under-18: Port Macquarie v Coffs Harbour 12pm



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