Coffs Crushers forward Vilise Vatuvili has been itching for an Axemen jersey and now he’s got one.
Coffs Crushers forward Vilise Vatuvili has been itching for an Axemen jersey and now he’s got one.

MNC Axemen hard to topple

RUGBY coach Bruce Frame believes the Mid North Coast Axemen will take some stopping in the Observer Trophy clash with Far North Coast next month.

Frame was in charge of the Upper MNC side which downed Lower MNC 44-12 in the annual intra-zone challenge played at Crescent Head on the weekend, but will hand over to Forster Dolphins’ mentor Ron McCarthy for the next representative stepping stone.

That game will be played at Coffs Coast Advocate Rugby Park on the June long weekend.

“Far North Coast will be a tough nut to crack as they finished fifth at the Country titles and are in the middle of a resurgence,” he said.

“However, with what I saw last Saturday the side picked for the Axemen is going to be a very formidable outfit.

“With a homeground advantage and by continuing their positive attitude, our blokes will be hard to beat.”

Upper MNC showed Lower the value of their experience in the 15-minute periods on both sides of half time.

With two tries before the break and three in succession following the resumption of play, all doubts about the final outcome were laid to rest.

“In both those periods the football we played was near faultless,” Frame remarked.

“One of the biggest advantages was our pace out wide and the players didn’t back off, they went hard as they were obviously enjoying what they were doing.”

Compared to this time last year, Frame believes the newfound spirit of co-operation between the two major rugby centres has been a crucial factor in the success of the side.

“Everybody is really positive which compared to some negative influences last year which caused friction between the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie clubs, is what we have been looking for,” he said.

“The problems have been dissolved, there’s a good relationship, and we’re all on the same page.

“That is what builds great outcomes.”

In the under-19 curtainraiser, Upper MNC proved far superior to their Lower rivals, winning 46-5.

Selectors have chosen a 22-man senior squad to confront Far North Coast, dominated by players from the northern half of the zone.

However, the loss by the southerners has been overlooked with five Old Bar players making the final cut.


Nick Dobson (Port Pirates)

Murray Polson (Old Bar Clams)

Brad Booth (Kempsey Cannonballs)

Kelvin Rushworth (Coffs Breakers)

Joel Riddle (Coffs Crushers)

Craig Landrigan (Coffs Crushers)

Lucas Webb (Port Pirates)

Matt Paulson (Old Bar Clams)

Ricky Clifton (Forster Dolphins)

Chad Lambert (Old Bar Clams)

Scott Edwards (Kempsey Cannonballs)

Vili Vatuvili (Coffs Crushers)

Andrew Paynter (Gloucester Cockies)

Paul Chaplin (Hastings Valley Vikings)

Tom Harris (Forster Dolphins)

Matt Mane (Port Pirates)

Adam Gregory (Old Bar Clams)

Kris Kent (Coffs Breakers)

David Barnes (Hastings Valley Vikings)

Darryl Thompson (Port Pirates)

Chris Tout (Old Bar Clams)

Jordan Macey (Port Pirates)

Coach: Ron McCarthy

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