Home games keep Magpies at fourth

BELLINGEN coach Josh White admits playing matches at home is special for two very different reasons – one is romantic, while the other is indeed pragmatic.

“Bellingen is a little country town but it’s a footy town, too, and we get good support there,” White said

“You don’t want to lose your home games for that reason but also because it’s hard to win away.

“I think everyone’s goal is to win their home games because if you lose them then you’re under the pump.”

The Magpies have now won three on the trot to be sitting in fourth position on the Group 2 table but even White admits his charges have been less than convincing in each of those victories.

“We’ve got a lot improvement left in us,” he said.

“Once we click we’ll be alright but we’re going along slowly.

“Orara’s a quality side and we know we’ve got a game on this weekend and we need to play well to beat them.”

Not only are the Axemen a quality side but they’re a team desperate for two points.

Last week Orara looked set to win against Macksville when they were leading by 10 points but the best they could come up with was a 30-all draw.

This has left Orara two games behind fifth place with the real possibility of that becoming three games should they lose tomorrow.

Their coach Darryl Fisher is aware of the mathematics but says it’s nowhere near time to start thinking about raising the white flag.

“It’s hard to say because you don’t know what is going to happen due to the closeness of the competition,” Fisher said.

“I think everyone, from one through to nine, has got the potential to beat each other.

“It will grow into a gap for us I guess (if we lose) and it would be nicer to not have that gap than have it.”

When Bellingen and Orara Valley do clash there’s always a little bit of extra feeling as both clubs see it as a local derby between two genuine ‘country’ football teams.

White says it goes a little bit further than that when you take a look at the playing personnel on the park tomorrow.

“There’s a bit of history there with Brad Hart once leading the side and we’ve got a couple of other Orara boys in there,” he said.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to stand up.”

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