Bench 'burst' for Slattery
FORMER Tweed Coast captain-coach Matt Slattery will come off the bench when Cudgen Hornets host the Raiders in the local derby in the first round of the new Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season at Ned Byrne Field tomorrow.
Hornets captain-coach, wily halfback Craig Field will start the clash with Tom Prichard locking the scrums, but will no doubt get the vastly experienced Slattery out onto the paddock as soon as the early starch is taken out of the match.
Not that the classic-tackling Slattery wouldn't relish the chance to get into the action in the opening minutes, but Field wants one of his gun off-season buys to come on and give his side a huge lift at a vital stage.
There's little doubt Slattery will get plenty of game time, as will blockbusting new recruit, Tony Pamintangi, who has followed his old mentor north from Albury.
“I had Tony when I coached the Riverina rep side a couple of years back when I was playing down in Wagga and was always impressed with his ability with ball-in-hand,” Field said.
“He's been slowly finding his feet in the trials and I reckon he's just about ready to show local football fans what he is capable of doing.”
Pamintangi is a giant of a man, standing 186cm and weighing in at a mammoth 110kg – but don't for a minute believe that bulk slows him down because Field says he can “really motor”.
Whereas Field is in the enviable position of having all hands on deck, Raiders coach, Glen Winters, has one of his key players sidelined until deep into the season.
No-frills backrower, Michael Sharp, has a bulging disc in the neck and he is likely to be out for nearly two months.
“Michael's injury is a blow but I'm confident we have enough talent to get the job done against Hornets,” Winters said.
“I was more than happy with their efforts during the pre-season and with those couple of runs under their belt.
“I'm positive they'll give a good account of themselves, not only on Sunday, but throughout the season.”