Battle for the coast
THEY might be neighbours, but there will be nothing neighbourly about the way the Cudgen Hornets and Tweed Coast Raiders meet on Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff this afternoon.
The two Tweed Coast sides will be chasing victory from a crucial round 15 of the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League, which could determine one side's fate for the season.
Both sides are within reach of a final-five berth.
Cudgen is tied on 16 points with the fifth-placed Grafton Ghosts, and the Tweed Coast Raiders are just one win behind on 14 points.
It's a must-win situation for the Raiders, but after their stunning vic- tory over competition front-runners Northern United last Sunday, they are full of confidence - a point not lost on Cudgen coach Con Theodossiou.
“These games are always close and pretty tough, and I'm sure their coach Nathan Jordan has emphasised the importance of this game for their season,” Theodossiou said.
“They had a good win last week and will be full of confidence.
“Our players are pretty dirty about having draws in the past two weeks against bottom-placed sides and are out to make amends.
“We had a good team talk this week and our training has been perhaps the best all season.
“Our guys know how important this game is and will be looking for a win in front of our home crowd.
“A win over the Raiders will keep us level-pegging with Grafton and also put pressure on Byron, which has to play Mullumbimby this weekend, so there is plenty at stake.”
Raiders' coach Jordan said his side was “back in the mix” for a finals berth after results went their way last week.
“We have a chance to really press for the finals and looking at our draw, I think we have the easier one between us, Grafton Ghosts and Cudgen,” Jordan said.
“But it all has to start with a win over Cudgen.
“Our win last week gave the players a huge mental lift and we showed that if we can control the ball, we can beat any side on the day.
“All the players from both sides know each other, and that produces very tight, torrid games.
“The last time we met, Cudgen just beat us, so we would like to get one back.”
The afternoon kicks off with the under-18s in action from 2.30pm, followed by the reserve grade, with both sides currently sitting on 16 points and looking to go ahead and press for the top five.
The A-grade game kicks off at 5.15pm.