Thriller is in store

ORARA Valley co-coach Grant ‘Gonzo’ Douglass is shaping as a league writer’s dream.

Ask him to comment on his Axemen players and the ideas, potentialities and general enthusiasm come tumbling out in a whirl of words.

In contrast, coaching partner Paul ‘Tommo’ Tomlinson is more reserved, much like round one Macksville opponent Grant ‘Grub’ Coleman who adds droll (and very funny) quips to his every observation on the football world.

But if the men strategically in charge of tomorrow’s joust at Coramba are known to be unique personalities, wait until you see the individual talents and idiosyncrasies of the players picked to perform?

There’s a familiar look to most of them, with a sprinkling of new faces added to keep the supporters guessing.

Compared man-against-man, the hard-working forward packs cancel each other out – apart from an inkling the home side might start handsome, clear favourites if Gonzo and Tommo were on the park.

Before checking out the backlines, start with the knowledge that Pickvance and Hardy will wear the custodian’s jumper and use imagination about the likely style of play from there ... a handy clue an outpouring of thrills, spills and speed is about to be unleashed.

No doubt Grub will send out a (not for long) unknown trickster from juniors with a roving commission to turn on the razzle dazzle, while we humbly suggest all Orara fans keep their peepers on Nick Lihou in the centres and this Clancy Brown kid, who’s been copping all the rave reviews.

Maybe it will come down to the halfbacks – home town hero Mike Castle working his wiles upon ‘the Mightys’ new chum Craig Smith, just up from the Cronulla Shire.

Forget that the Axemen have gone ‘amateur’ to rein in rising costs and consider that even during their legendary run on top, Macksville’s bean counters were not known to spend recklessly and didn’t like parting with cash?

The last genuinely unpaid players turned out for the Comets in 1991 and it didn’t stop them making the grand final – proving that old adage about more country footy matches being won by blokes in the right frame of mind, rather than those with the biggest quid in the sky rocket.

Two clubs full of positive attitude and a reputation for creating entertainment spells a real thriller to start the season with a bang.

We suggest you get to the Coliseum early to reserve your view.



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