Southern Cross University scrum half Sam McPherson clears the ball from a ruck during the game against Casino at Maurie Ryan Oval in Lismore last Saturday. The Casino Bulls won 20-17 with a drop goal right on full-time. The referee is Mick Melino.
Southern Cross University scrum half Sam McPherson clears the ball from a ruck during the game against Casino at Maurie Ryan Oval in Lismore last Saturday. The Casino Bulls won 20-17 with a drop goal right on full-time. The referee is Mick Melino. Marc Stapelberg

Flyhalf could be key

IF there is one position on the field that Wollongbar-Alstonville should have the edge over four-time defending premiers Lennox Head today, it should be fly-half.

Whether it is enough to get the Pioneers across the line in their Far North Coast rugby union encounter at Williams Reserve, Lennox Head, remains to be seen.

Jake McIntyre will pull on the No 10 jumper for Wollongbar after spending the week playing in the NSW CHS championships at Dubbo, where he was named player of the tournament after North Coast won the final 34-14.

Lennox Head, however, will be without regular fly-half Matt Barnes, who was suspended for two weeks for a spear tackle in the Trojans' 32-6 win over Grafton last Saturday.

His replacement is the capable Paul Crozier.

Lennox Head have also named a team without NSW Country representative centre Sam Stewart and Canadian halfback Jake Robinson so will be well below full strength.

In other games today, Lismore travels to Grafton to play the Redmen and Southern Cross University hosts Ballina.

Lismore will be backing up from a 17-3 win over Ballina that made it three in a row for the Greens.

Grafton will be looking for only its second win of the season but the Redmen are usually difficult to beat at home regardless of their position on the ladder.

The SCU Gold Rats are also doing it tough this season and would need a significant form reversal to beat a Ballina team that has had an inconsistent start to the season and needs a win to get back on track.

Casino has the bye.

Games in all grades except President's Cup will be played on the June long weekend this year.

Competition points: Lennox Head 21, Wollongbar-Alstonville 15, Ballina 12, Casino 9, Lismore 8, Southern Cross University 6, Grafton 4.

Next round: Southern Cross University v Grafton, Casino v Lennox Head, Wollongbar-Alstonvillev Ballina. Lismore bye.