Breakers’ Leith Vaughan is considered front-runner for the halfback role when the Upper Mid North Coast side is announced.
Breakers’ Leith Vaughan is considered front-runner for the halfback role when the Upper Mid North Coast side is announced. TREVOR VEALE

Coffs, Port to make up rep team

COFFS Rugby and Port Pirates players are tipped to dominate selections for the Upper Mid North Coast representative team.

The squad to contest the 2010 Abigroup Cup intra-zone championship will be selected from two Coffs Coast and Hastings-based first-grade teams, along with Kempsey and South West Rocks.

The southern pool side will be chosen from club teams representing Manning River, Harrington, Gloucester, Forster-Tuncurry, Old Bar and Wallamba.

Former Australian Sevens coach and local development officer Bruce Frame will be in charge of the northern team and was on duty at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park last weekend checking possible candidates in the two first-grade matches.

“There is a side in mind at this time and over the next couple of days I’ll speak to everybody to find out who’s available and who’s not and then the final draft can be announced,” he said.

“Next job is to bring the boys together to prepare for the match against Lower MNC.”

Depending on availability, Coffs Breakers halfback Leith Vaughan and Port Pirates fullback Jordan Macey are expected to be among the first players chosen.

Vaughan was a late inclusion in the Breakers side on Saturday and was right in the thick of the action as well as scoring a try in the narrow loss to Pirates.

Hooker Lachlan Chubb and backs Dylan Hurley, Kris Kent and Dwayne Fox will also come under scrutiny.

Coffs Crushers’ players also have plenty of credentials after their fine win over Kempsey and the entire forward pack and at least half the backline must be considered up to representative standard.

Meanwhile Jordan Macey, the former Port Macquarie Sharks rugby league star, showed touches of class when he chose to become involved during his northern excursion and has a proven track record at the top level.

After switching from the NRL to the fifteen-a-side code, the nuggetty specialist fullback and accomplished goal kicker battled a string of injuries during a nine-year career with Northern Suburbs and Manly rugby clubs.

Macey’s highest honour was being chosen for the Australian Sevens team and he’s also played professionally in Europe.

The annual clash will take place on Saturday, May 15, hosted by Kempsey Cannonballs at Ian Walton Memorial Field near Crescent Head.

Under-19s will play a curtain-raiser from 1.30pm before the 3pm kick-off in first grade.

This will be the second staging of the Abigroup Cup after Upper downed Lower MNC 32-15 at Tuncurry in 2009.

The southern side were not expected to be so advanced that day but made a huge impression with the quality of their forward play and it’s in this area where they will be strongest again.

The match is used as a selection trial for the Mid North Coast Axeman team to take on the Far North Coast Dolphins for the Observer Trophy. Following the game a presentation dinner will be held at the Crescent Head Country Club.

Announcement of teams and the presentation of jumpers to the First XV and under-19 players is the highlight of the night.

This game is the first step towards selection of the teams to play in Queensland on the weekend of July 24 where the squad will also attend the Australia versus South Africa Test.

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