WELCOME BACK: After a bye in the first round, the SCU Marlins begin their defence of last year's title with a home game against Grafton this afternoon.
WELCOME BACK: After a bye in the first round, the SCU Marlins begin their defence of last year's title with a home game against Grafton this afternoon. Brad Greenshields

Marlins 'can't wait to rip in'

THE SCU Marlins begin their MNC Rugby title defence this afternoon minus one important cog of the machine.

While premiership winning coach Dwayne Vignes relaxes with a daiquiri under the Thailand sun, his Marlins led by assistant Greg Wilson will meet the greatly improved Grafton at the University ground.

Wilson said having the bye last week had made the Marlins even hungrier to hit the field.

"The boys are jumping out of their skin. They can't wait to rip in,” he said.

"There's a few players with injuries who are still a couple of weeks away from coming back but the enthusiasm is unbelievable at the moment.

"We had to tell some of the boys they weren't allowed to play in the reserve grade game last week they were that keen to just play.”

After an impressive first week, the Coffs Snappers face a stiffer test this afternoon at Port Macquarie.

Co-coach Troy Baker admits the Snappers will fly blind into this test against the Pirates.

"I haven't heard a lot from the Pirates camp in terms of who they've recruited or what their squad is like but we'll go down there full of energy and ready to go,” he said.

What Baker does know is that he has the confidence that the Snappers will be able to play for the full 80 minutes.

"We've trained really hard in pre-season, we've had a great pre-season, a long one being supported by Brand New Me the gym, our boys are fit and they're ready to go.”

MNC RUGBY

All matches to kick-off at 3pm today

SCU Marlins v Grafton

Port Pirates v Coffs Snappers

Wauchope v Hastings Valley

Bye: Kempsey



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