HOPEFUL: Orara must beat the Rebels to keep flickering finals hopes alive. Photo: Debrah Novak
HOPEFUL: Orara must beat the Rebels to keep flickering finals hopes alive. Photo: Debrah Novak

Axemen winning streak would bring semis in sight

IT'S BEEN seven long seasons since Orara Valley has been in today's situation.

Beating South Grafton and then winning the following three matches is what the Axemen must do if the club is to return to semi-final football and while the odds are astronomical, just being spoken about this late in the season as an outside chance pleases coach Kevin Neighbour.

Since winning the 2008 Group 2 premiership, wins have been hard to come by but at last in 2015, the spiral has been upward.

"Of course I'm happy to be in this situation and I want the boys to know they are worthy of being spoken about in this way," Neighbour said.

"We could be even higher up the table if we hadn't lost our way at times and it can be frustrating, such as in the loss to Grafton.

"The Rebels are going to come back strong after losing their first match and we won't get any favours.

"But I want my boys to look at winning in a tough situation to see just how far they have come."

Irrespective of what transpires at Coramba this afternoon, Neighbour already is thinking ahead to the next mountain to climb.

"From the way we've played this year, I feel we can attract players from other clubs who see themselves as part of what we are trying to achieve," the coach added.

"An extra, experienced prop would really help Jared (Few) and Ben (Groenewegen) and take some of the pressure away and another older head out there like Chris Shields would be tremendous."

Meanwhile, Sawtell Panthers will host the annual NAIDOC Week activities at Rex Hardaker Oval in the meeting with Macksville as local rugby league celebrates the incalculable contribution made by indigenous culture.

Also, Bellingen has withdrawn its reserve grade for the rest of 2015.

Group 2 matches - Round 11
Today
3.45pm: Grafton v Coffs Harbour at Frank McGuren Field (Referee: Ray Pettit)
2.30pm: Orara Valley v South Grafton at Coramba Sportsground (Referee: Dave Honeybrook)
Tomorrow
2.30pm: Nambucca Heads v Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo at Coronation Park (Referee: Lenny Duroux)
2.45pm: Sawtell v Macksville at Rex Hardaker Oval (Referee: Nathan Grace)



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