Rivals rally in Group 2 league
THEY haven't seen each other since the April 27 meeting but there's been a feeling in Group 2 that Coffs Harbour and Grafton have been stalking each other in spirit.
Inter-city rivalry and interest in the fortunes of the Comets and Ghosts have ramped up since the home side won 18-12 at Geoff King Motors Park, with expectations rising with every win in the run-up to this meeting at Frank McGuren Oval.
Coffs coach Colin Speed is no stranger to this kind of building tension, after leading the Ghosts to so much success before heading south.
"It's going to be a funny feeling going into the visitor's dressing shed, that's for sure," he said.
"Last time we got them by a try when we were probably a bit fitter for two games into the season.
"This time it's match fitness and that's a whole different type.
"It's the 80-minute players who will be the keys to this and I know there are plenty on both sides.
"Should be interesting."
Ghosts' custodian Mitch Lollback has developed into a try-scoring machine not sighted since Matt Donavan reigned supreme in the 1990s and Speed has a healthy respect.
"Mitch is a great attacker player but his success is helped by those around him," Speed offered.
"We certainly respect them but won't let that influence what we intend to do, that's the secret and the difference."
With a base of 20 players in mind for the end of season matches, Speed will watch performances closely as he whittles the side down to his final preferred line-up.
Group 2 round 10
Grafton v Coffs Harbour
2.45pm Frank McGuren Oval, Grafton
Referee: Deon Aldridge
Sawtell v Woolgoolga
2.45pm Rex Hardaker Oval, Toormina
Referee: Nathan Grace
Macksville v Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo
2.45pm Hennessy-Tape Oval, Bowraville
Referee: Ken Hoad
Orara Valley v South Grafton
2.30pm Coramba Sportsground, Coramba
Referee: Craig Craigie