Makeshift Marlins have much to play for
A PLACE inside MNC Rugby's top four could be Southern Cross University's by the end of this afternoon.
The Marlins face a vital clash on home soil today against a confident Grafton.
Victory could see the SCU boys overtake the Port Pirates in the top four but a loss could see them fall two games behind fourth.
The chances of a win have been diminished somewhat by the younger players in the squad missing due to being selected to play in representative teams.
SCU coach Dwayne Vignes said the result was he was fielding an enthusiastic line-up but one which has a makeshift look about it.
"The young players have got to play in these games and they'll come back as better players because of it," Vignes said.
"Unfortunately it's happening at a time when we need them."
The loss to the Marlins at the end of last season, which ended Grafton's finals campaign, is still fresh in the mind of Redmen coach Ray Collie.
"They (Marlins) put us out of the semi-finals last season and put them in," Collie said.
"It was a disappointing loss but I'm sure the squad is very aware of what happened last year and will be keen to make amends on Saturday.
"I expect them to play a typical university-style of rugby. It could be a bit wet under foot so without giving too much away we'll play tight and target the set pieces."
Collie has named an unchanged line-up that went agonisingly close to knocking off three-time premiers Hastings Valley last round.
The top of the table Coffs Snappers will have another weekend off thanks to the bye but is far enough in front of the second placed Vikings to maintain top position no matter what Hastings Valley produces at home today against Wauchope.
Port Pirates are also at home against Kempsey.
SCU Marlins vs Grafton
Port Pirates vs Kempsey
Hastings Valley vs Wauchope
Bye: Coffs Snappers