Bangalow centre Jed Erickson on the run in FNC rugby.
Bangalow centre Jed Erickson on the run in FNC rugby. John Bungate

Rebels focus on the future

BANGALOW is building for the future with centre Jed Erickson and wingers Jack Bensley and Benson Lockyer to play bigger roles at the club in Far North Coast rugby union.

The trio have been named to take on the Grafton Redmen today in the Rebels home game at Schultz Oval, Bangalow tomorrow.

Coach Tim Cohen has welcomed the return of second-rower Tim Mundy and also paid tribute to front-rower Neil Moran and Dan Hill who has switched from hooker to centre.

Bangalow has only two wins this season but can trouble Grafton who has won just the one game away from home.

"We're definitely trying to focus on our juniors and Jed doesn't mind throwing his weight around,” Cohen said.

"He likes the contact and that's one of the reasons I've moved him from fullback to centre.

"Jack was playing soccer a few years ago so he's still picking up some of the skills.

"I do like the way he plays, though, and I've tried to fire Benson up a bit lately by playing him in the forwards.

"We've got a few of the old boys back, too, and I think they've created a really good atmosphere at the club.”

The Rebels have also been learning from former Wallabies hooker Saia Fainga'a in recent weeks.

The 32-year-old has been staying in the region while on a short break from playing in London.

"We got in touch with him to see if he'd come down and it has been great for everyone,” Cohen said.

"He has been loving it and we try to make training enjoyable to keep everyone interested.

"Neil Moran has done a lot for our club on and off the field and we've got a good group of people here for our junior rugby on Friday nights.”

Kick-off is 3.15pm.

In other games, Wollongbar-Alstonville hosts Lennox Head in the grand final rematch at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.

The Trojans are almost unrecognisable from last season with only centre Marty McNamara, halfback Abe Goldsmith and No 8 Hayden Blair left from that team.

Pioneers centre Josh Damen returns from injury.

Elsewhere, centre Grant Knight and No 8 Stan Lolohea are back on deck for Ballina when they take on Casino at Quays Reserve, Ballina.

Byron Bay welcomes back centres Owain Roberts and Romey Vassell along with No 8 Courtney Raymond when it travels to take on Casuarina.

And Lismore City and Southern Cross University battle it out in the local derby at Lismore Rugby Park.

Wollongbar Alstonville: 1. Matt Wright, 2. Bill Johnston, 3. Jaiden Reginato, 4. Matt Scott, 5. Josh Galbraith, 6. Austin Markwort, 7. Justyn Keir, 8. Nick Pennisi, 9. Louis Hollman, 10. Ben Damen (c), 11. Angus Thearle, 12. Nathaniel Regueira, 13. Josh Damen, 14. James Vidler, 15. Sam Kerry

Coach: Paul Jeffery

versus

Lennox Head: 1. John Clark, 2. Brad McGoulrick, 3. Jacob Carter, 4. Callum Jones, 5. Luke Smith, 6. Jackson Gardnir, Sam Dwyer, 8. Hayden Blair (c), 9. Abe Goldsmith, 10. Callum S Jones, 11. Rhys Tatum, 12. Martin McNamara, 13. Kyle Wilson, 14. Toby Creagh, 15. Jack Norman

Coach: Paul Fish

Referee: Kevin Twomey

Ballina: 1. Isaac Pratten, 2. Siaosi Ofalanga, 3. Callum Turner, 4. Marcus Lees, 5. Jacob O'Connor, 6. Luke Kliese, 7. Brad Brown (c), 8. Stan Lolohea, 9. Nick Watson, 10. Beau Clarke, 11. Terry Ferguson, 12. Grant Knight, 13. Tupou Lolohea, 14. Leigh Foster, 15. Luke Simpson

Coach: Chris Hickey

V

Casino: 1. Craig Connolly, 2. Ben Collison, 3. Scott Kenny, 4. Callum McLennan, 5. Nathan Davy, 6. Carl Tahatu, 7. Elliott Birmingham, , 8. Marcus Cusack, 9. Stephen Murchie (c), 10. Nick Armstrong, 11. Nick Benn, 12. Glen Pollard, 13. Jake Roberts, 14. Joseph Murphy, 15. Harrison Cusack

Coach: Doug Murray

Referee: Will Palmer

Bangalow: 1. Neil Moran, 2. Nick Jones, 3. Sean Petrou, 4. Jock Craigie (c), 5. Rob Wightman, 6. John Turagabeci, 7. Sam Campbell, 8. David Johnson, 9. Ben Alcock, 10. Kye Spence, 11. Jack Bensley, 12. Dan Hill, 13. Jed Erickson, 14. Benson Lockyer, 15. Adam Brien

Coach: Tim Cohen

V

Grafton: 1. Jack Anderson, 2. Zac Mason-Gale, 3. Dan Blackman, 4. Declan Collie, 5. Nick Collie, 6. Brennan Lavery, 7. Billy Whalan, 8. Ed McGrath, 9. Dom Bullock, 10. Adam Smidt, 11. Daniel Breward, 12. Keaton Ingram, 13. Dwayne Duke, 14. Jayden Reti, 15. Kyle Hancock (c)

Coach: Craig Howe

Referee: Matthew Clayton

Casuarina Beach: 1. Bruce Somerville, 2. Trent Ryan, 3. Abraham Buatava, 4. Chris Dowling, 5. Elisio Tagidrau, 6. Henry Bradford, 7. Ross Colvin, 8. Hiroshi Takeyama, 9. Webb Lillis, 10. Vitori Buatava, 11. Michael Coates, 12. Rian Olivier, 13 Kai George, 14. Luke Gyory, 15. Richard White

Coach: Mick Hall

V

Byron Bay: 1. Jordan Elliott, 2. Dan Morgan, 3. Brad Hill, 4. Will Aisake, 5. James Atkins, 6. Ed Randall, 7. Ben Wood, 8. Courtney Raymond, 9. Tom Brooks, 10. Pete Gillespie, 11. James Boozer, 12. Owain Roberts, 13. Romey Vassell, 14. Mark Howard, 15. Jascha Saeck

Coach: Jeff Watt

Referee: Graham Cook

Lismore: 1. Gavin Tulk, 2. Nathan Carbery, 3. Marcus Ellison, 4. Ben Carroll, 5. Zane Hepton, 6. Tyler Coveney, 7. Brenden Williams (c), 8. Angus MacDougall, 9. Jack Everingham, 10. William Fairweather, 11. Cody Johnston, 12. James Grubb, 13. Jake Lennon, 14. Marcus Hannaway, 15. Andrew Sky

Coach: Ray Taylor

V

Southern Cross University: 1. Pat Kelly, 2. Isaac Penfold, 3. Mitchell Bird, 4. Riley Spencer, 5. Brad Sneath, 6. Dean Buchanan, 7. Kirk Taylor-Brown, 8. Matt Murray, 9. Matt Anderson (c), 10. Will Hawkins, 11. Jake Henry, 12. Johnson Porykali, 13. Matt McMullen, 14. Rhys Harrison, 15. Michael McMullen

Coach: Harry Witt

Referee: Dylan Harris