Win or not players are loving game
WHO wins at Coramba tomorrow is less important than having both Orara Valley and Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo players keep coming back for more.
Both first grade teams are winless so far this season but this meeting has major implications for Group 2 at a time when the health of local rugby league is not as chipper as it once was.
Without too many star players - apart from gun centre Matt Bush - the Magpies are defying the accepted belief that nobody loves you when you aren't winning.
"We're going the other way and have players still turning up looking for a run," coach Maurie Hulbert said.
"Against Macksville our best reserve-grade player was last year's captain-coach of the Jerusalem Dragons rugby club ... fair dinkum.
"Five new blokes have been to training since. They want to play with their mates and have fun.
"Wins are scarce but the culture at the club is unbelievable and we need that to continue."
Hulbert has elevated Daniel Sangster, Jake Mears and Dylan Edwards, who are still eligible for under-18s, and sees them as the foundation of another golden era.
Meanwhile, Axemen co-coach Matt Bye also says juniors are the real strength of the club.
"While we have those kids, this club will succeed, no matter how many first grade wins there are," he said.
Bye is confident of downing the Magpies tomorrow and is as keen as his rival Hulbert that rain doesn't spoil the show.
"Apart from last weekend, we have gone so close and could easily have two wins on board," he said.
"With Adrian Hoskins joining us, we finally have a halfback to drive us around and there's a hell of a lot of speed out wide.
"I just hope the supporters of both clubs come out today and get behind their teams.
"It's an important game for the Group's future."