Attacking weapon returns for Ballina
BALLINA centre Anthony Lolohea will return from an injury-ravaged season when the Seahorses travel to Grafton to take on the Redmen in Far North Coast rugby union tomorrow.
Lolohea was Ballina's main attacking weapon last year but has rarely been sighted this season after a suspension and broken wrist in May.
"Anthony hasn't played a lot of rugby this year; every time we were about to get him back he seemed to pick up another injury,” Ballina coach Chris Hickey said.
"This is an important game for him to get back on the park and have a run before the semi-finals.
"He's an important part of what we do and we'll enjoy having him back in the team.
"His brother Tupou has been playing in the centres this season and he's consistently one of our best players.
"They play different styles and each has their strengths; I'm sure they will enjoy being out there together.”
Ballina has already sealed second spot and will take on minor premiers Wollongbar-Alstonville in the major semi-final in two weeks.
It will be all hands on deck with three men's grades and the club's women's sevens team heading to Grafton for the final round.
"We always enjoy the Grafton trip; it's part of the rugby culture in the region and Ballina embraces it,” Hickey said.
"I'm really happy with how we've performed over the past month and it was vital that we secure second spot.
"Wollongbar is always a game to look forward to but we'll be looking for another committed performance against Grafton first.”
In other games:
Casino will look to pile on the points when they host Lismore City at Albert Park, Casino. The Bulls are still are chance of sneaking fourth spot depending on the result of the game today at Lennox Head.
Lennox Head host Casuarina and need a win or a bonus point from scoring four tries or losing by less than seven to seal fourth.
SCU plays Byron Bay at Maurie Ryan Oval, Lismore.
Bangalow will host Wollongbar-Alstonville at Schultz Oval.
Grafton: 1 Jack Anderson, 2 Zac Mason-Gale, 3 Dan Blackman (vc), 4 Rhys Nelson, 5 Declan Collie, 6 Billy Whalan, 7 Tom Tanner, 8 Ed McGrath, 9 Dom Bullock, 10 Kyle Hancock (c), 11 Ryan Spies, 12 Luke Worthing, 13 Keaton Ingram, 14 James Fairweather, 15 Adam Smidt. Coach: Craig Howe.
Ballina: 1 Isaac Pratten, 2 Hayden Warneke, 3 Callum Turner, 4 Jakob O'Connor, 5 Marcus Lees, 6 Brad Brown (c), 7 Luke Kliese, 8 Stan Lolohea, 9 Nick Watson, 10 Beau Clarke, 11 Leigh Foster, 12 Anthony Lolohea, 13 Romulo Leweniqila, 14 Nat Hooper, 15 Tom Watson. Coach: Chris Hickey.
Referee: Matt Clayton.
Casino: 1 Craig Connelly, 2 Ben Collison, 3 Scott Kenny, 4 Callum McLennan, 5 Marcus Cusack, 6 Elliott Birmingham, 7 Carl Tahatu, 8 Ratu Vio Batibasaga, 9 Stephen Murchie (c), 10 Nick Armstrong, 11 Jacob Dunn, 12 Josef Lalabalavu, 13 Harrison Cusack, 14 Nick Benn, 15 Wilson Lovokuro. Coach: Doug Murray.
Lismore: 1 Greg Martin, 2 Jathan Von Bratt, 3 tba, 4 Gavin Tulk (c), 5 John Lowe, 6 Tyler Coveney, 7 Isaac McLean, 8 Angus MacDougall, 9 Jack Everingham, 10 tba, 11 Sam Nilon, 12 James Grubb, 13 Jake Lennon, 14, Perry Daly, 15 Andrew Sky. Coach: Ray Taylor.
Referee: Will Palmer.
Lennox Head: 1 Angus Langfield, 2 Brad McGoulrick, 3 Jacob Carter, 4 Kurt Orlanno, 5 Callum Jones, 6 John Young, 7 Sean Watkins, 8 Mackenzie Winchester, 9 Abe Goldsmith, 10 Hugo Marks, 11 Martin McNamara, 12 Billy Goldsmith, 13 Callum S Jones, 14 Rhys Tatum, 15 Sam Fitzgerald. Coach: Rob Fish.
Casuarina Beach: 1 Robert Beacroft, 2 Trent Ryan, 3 Chris Guest, 4 Chris Dowling, 5 Elisio Tagidrau, 6 Timoci Rokosuka, 7 Ross Colvin, 8 Matt Worland, 9 Webb Lillis, 10 Vitori Buatava, 11 Kai George, 12 Rian Olivier, 13 Hiroshi Takeyama, 14 Graham Dodge, 15 Casey Calder. Coach: Mick Hall.
Referee: Dylan Harris.
Southern Cross University: 1 Mitch Bird, 2 Isaac Penfold, 3 Pat Kelly, 4 Dean Buchanan, 5 Riley Spencer, 6 Michael McMullen, 7 Kirk Taylor-Brown, 8 Matt Murray, 9 Matt Anderson (c), 10 Will Hawkins, 11 Rhys Harrison, 12 Matt McMullen, 13 Jake Henry, 14 Cale Spencer, 15 Mick Connors. Coach: Harry Witt.
Byron Bay: 1 Jordan Elliott, 2 Dan Morgan, 3 Duane Pakai, 4 Ed Randall, 5 Will Aisake (c), 6 Cooper Lau, 7 Erik Rademacher, 8 Courtney Raymond, 9 Tom Brooks, 10 Peter Gillespie, 11 Mark Howard, 12 Owain Roberts, 13 Jascha Saeck, 14 James Boozer, 15 Blake Whittakar. Coach: Jeff Watt.
Referee: Peter Campbell.
Bangalow: 1 Aniri Whewell, 2 Nick Jones (c), 3 Neil Moran, 4 Rob Wrightman, 5 Jock Craigie, 6 Jack Bensley, 7 John Turagabeci, 8 David Johnson, 9 Rowan Ozols, 10 Ben Farrow, 11 Sam Campbell, 12 Daniel Hill, 13 Kye Spence, 14 Benson Lockyer, 15 Jed Erickson. Coach: Tim Cohen.
Wollongbar-Alstonville: 1 Matt Wright, 2 Bill Johnston, 3 Brandon Whitney, 4 Matt Scott, 5 Andrew Ross, 6 Nick Pennisi, 7 Justyn Keir, 8 Hamish Mould, 9 Louis Hollman, 10 Ben Damen (c), 11 Vincent Chee, 12 Franklin Calugay, 13 Matt Nean, 14 James Vidler, 15 Sam Kerry. Coach: Paul Jeffery.
Referee: James McElligott.