Macey confident Axemen can win
FORMER Australian Sevens representative Jordan Macey has helped rejuvenate Mid North Coast rugby union and he is optimistic the Axemen can end a decade-long drought when they play Far North Coast for the Observer Trophy at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park this Saturday.
Macey who is in his first year as captain-coach of the Port Pirates played first grade rugby union and rugby league in Sydney before helping the Central Coast Rays win the inaugural Australian Rugby Union championship under coach John McKee in 2007.
Now 27, Macey is a full-time professional, having played in Scotland for the last two years. He is considering a further one-season contract after his MNC Rugby season with the Pirates.
“The Axemen will field a really strong side against FNC on Saturday,” Macey said of this weekend’s representative team.
“Coffs Harbour has dominated the code in our zone in previous years but the arrival of (backrower) Chad Joseph for the Pirates and David Tunstad for the Hastings Vikings has turned the tide in Port Macquarie – big time.
“In my opinion, Joseph is the finest player in the competition and Tunstad is easily the best prop. He represented NSW Country and it was unfortunate that he was injured and could not play in the representative trial game at Crescent Head.
“Chad came off the bench and scored a try in the short time he was on the field. But both are quite outstanding players.”
MNC Rugby executive director Desmond Hoy said that the Observer Trophy has proved an elusive prize for the Axemen since its introduction for competition between the two zones in 1977, pointing out that records indicate the MNC have won it only once in its 33-year history – a decade ago, in 2000.
“I think with Macey in our back line and a strong forward pack, we have as good a chance to win the trophy as we have had for some years. Macey is an exceptional player,” Hoy said.
“He reminds me of (former Test centre) Billy McKid the way he lounges about. But when he gets the ball, he is an electrifying runner. You can quickly see how he represented Australia in Singapore in the Sevens tournament.”
The final MNC team will be announced at training tonight when the squad trains from 6.30 under Forster Dolphins coach Ron McCarthy at the Cannonballs’ ground at Verge Street, Kempsey. The MNC Under-20 team will also be named by coach Mark Hudson.