Tom Freebody, of the Grafton Ghosts, and Ricky Binge, of the Lower Clarence Magpies. PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY
Tom Freebody, of the Grafton Ghosts, and Ricky Binge, of the Lower Clarence Magpies. PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY

Game on at the Graveyard

THE Freezer versus Boxhead.

Sounds like a thriller straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. You can almost hear the narrator's voice as the opening credits appear.

“In a world where there are no rules. In an age of darkness, one man has taken a stand to stop a war that should have happened long ago. That man is Ryan Binge.

“Now his only chance is to lead an army of Magpies against his schoolboy mate and save his side from defeat.”

Somehow I doubt the ground announcer at the Maclean Showground tomorrow will be as colourful when he reads out the team sheets.

There's no denying the front row is the toughest spot on the field. Nowhere to hide.

Just tuck the Steeden under your wing, get a head of steam up and plough into a wall of defenders. Defenders who have only one thing on their mind – to hit you as hard as they can and inflict as much pain as possible.

For Binge, impersonating a human battering ram is part of his job. Soak up the punishment and churn out the metres. And, if he feels inclined, pop the odd pass to a teammate.

Binge, or “Boxhead” to his mates, is regarded as one of the best front-rowers in the NRRRL and tomorrow will go into battle with a former teammate in the shape of a 190cm skyscraper dubbed “Freezer”.

Tom Freebody signed with the 2010 premiers this season to add more starch to their engine room.

Tomorrow, at the Maclean Showground, could be his toughest test against his former club.

And Boxhead can't wait to greet him.

“I've known Freezer since I was about 10 years old.

“I started playing with Freezer in first grade for Lower,” Binge recalled.

“I remember my first game was against the Rebels at South Grafton. I came off the bench and Freezer was playing then. I was only 17.”

Asked if mateship will be pushed aside in tomorrow's local derby, Binge said he would be doing everything in his power to get one over his mate.

“We're still good mates but on the field we'll be going pretty hard at each other,” he said.

“It's what we always do, so we'll just see what happens on the day.

“Whatever the result we'll still have a beer and shake hands after the game.”

Earlier in the week, Magpies captain Xavier Sullivan branded his pack one of the best in the NRRRL, and Binge agreed.

“I reckon we've got a better forward pack but we need to perform on Sunday,” the 23-year-old prop said.

“It's good having Xavier's experience up front and Marto (Tom Martin) is playing good footy at the moment.”

The 115kg front-rower added the Magpies would be a different team to the one that was defeated by Ghosts in round one.

“Last time it was our first game of the season. It will be different this time,” he said.

“We're playing at the Graveyard (Maclean Showground) and hopefully our fans will turn up and support us.”

According to Freebody, all the attention he has received this week was just what he expected from his former club.

“It's not really all that much fun but it's not surprising, coming from the Magpies,” Freebody said yesterday.

“We certainly respect their forward pack and they definitely have one of the best in the Group, especially their front-row.

“I'm actually glad they are focusing on our pack. We have plenty of strike-power in other departments right across the field,” he said.

Freebody, like his mate, said once the opening whistle blew it was every player for himself.

“Boxhead and I are definitely mates off the field but there will be no love lost on the field,” he said.



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