Pottsville's makeshift goalie
WELCOME to the first column of the new Football Far North Coast competitive season which gets under way this weekend after a month or so of clubs throughout the divisions playing trial matches to help dust off the cobwebs and give coaches the opportunity to assess their playing strengths.
In Premier League action this weekend, Pottsville host Lismore Workers at 5pm this afternoon and despite a host of problems, coach Dave Lonie is “fairly confident” of kicking off the season with a victory.
Lonie has a number of players still AWOL for a variety of reasons including injuries and studies but the biggest headache for him is the absence of an experienced goalkeeper.
Whereas Richard III would have given “a kingdom for a horse”, Dave would probably hand over his two front teeth for a quality man standing in front of goal.
He‘ll go into today's clash with Workers using a makeshift goalkeeper and that is something he knows he can't do week after week.
“It is really troubling and obviously the situation can't go on,” Dave told me. “If there are any decent goalies out there, please contact me!”
Despite lack of troops and a fair dinkum goalie, Dave says his team will go into the Workers fixture confident of giving a good account of themselves.
“We have a solid core of experienced players and a handful of improving younger players who should be able to more than match it with Workies,” Dave said.
Pottsville made a great debut in Premier football last year, winding up third after going a bit off the boil at the wrong end of the season but with that run under their belts, I'm predicting the Panthers will give the competition a real shake this season.
In first division news there's plenty happening up in them thar hills where football is really booming at Burringbar.
Bandits president Jim Robinson is cock o' hoop over the number of players, old and new, who have rocked up to pull on boots for the Bandits this season.
“We have 54 players on the books and will field teams in first, second and fourth division,” said a gleeful Robbo.
“A few of the new blokes show plenty of ability but what really gives me a kick is the return to Burringbar of top class players in strikers Simon Hercombe and Steve Nolan, and midfielders Mike Williams and Vinnie Steptoe.
“Mike spent most of last season on the sidelines after doing a hammy (hamstring) early in the season while Vinnie comes back after a year off.”
A super-confident Robbo is predicting Burringbar can achieve a top three position in the 10-team stand-alone comp in 2011.
Burringbar head south this afternoon to tackle Dunoon – first division gets under way at 5pm preceded by the seconds game at 3pm with fourth division away to Casino.
Now we head down to third division where I'm disheartened to report that our scheduled game to open the new season at Uki Sports Ground has already been washed out.
The ground is waterlogged and we knew early in the week that the prospect of getting onto the pitch was at long odds.
It is a shame because Uki has done well in three pre-season trials, winning against Mullumbimby, Tweed Heads and fellow third division outfit Kingscliff. Up at Kingscliff, the Seawolves are ready to go on the prowl and open their third division account against Tintenbar at home at Walter Peat Oval (1pm).
The Seawolves have hit their straps early in the new season, qualifying for the Open B division Anzac Cup in which they clash with Rovers 16s at Lismore's Oakes Oval on April 25.