Revved to win
CRUNCH time has arrived for Byron Bay and Richmond Rovers, with the teams ready to square off for the Far North Coast men's premier division soccer grand final at Oakes Oval, Lismore, tonight.
The Rams will enter the game with a dominant record over their East Lismore rivals this season, including a 2-1 win most recently, in the major semi-final.
Byron Bay secured the pointscore with very similar results last year, losing three games and dropping only two.
Rovers have an uncanny knack of rising to the challenge when needed and they sprung the upset on Byron in the grand final last year.
Striker Tyson Kaye and experienced midfielder Todd Knaus have both having outstanding seasons for Byron, with Kaye combining brilliantly with powerful fellow striker James Tomlinson to form an imposing attacking line.
With an array of speed in the side and a combination of deft distribution and incisive running from Knaus and Alejo Villasona from behind the front line, Byron Bay is expected to test the Rovers defence all game.
Rams coach Jeremy Sutton has depth and a range of options with many class players lining up in the premier reserve grand final, including Japanese star Kazuhora Tsukamoto.
The Rams have the luxury of having a bench that will maintain the style of play and high tempo football we have come to expect from Byron Bay.
In the other corner of this title contest awaits Rovers who have become the benchmark for success in this competition, winning the Cyril Mayo trophy an extraordinary 14 times in their 55 year history. Rookie coach and leading player, Bobby Bugden has guided his team through a successful season and will approach the grand final with confidence despite the Rams' advantage over his charges this season.
Rovers are not at full strength with young defender Jeremy Perkins in Sydney for NSW Country cricket duties, but Rovers have great depth to cover his absence. The versatile Bugden will likely move back into the defensive line, with pacey Andrew Casagrande returning to the line-up.
The clash of respective mid-fields will be a highlight, with the Rovers pair of consummate footballers Russell Dent and Ian McGregor well versed in delivering performances required to win titles.
In other grand finals, perennial premier reserve champions Rovers will meet Byron Bay for that trophy at 3.45pm, while Italo Stars will aim to celebrate the pointscore and grand final double when they meet Suffolk Park in Division 1 at 1.30pm.
Lennox Head will play Burringbar in Division 2 at 11.30am, with the Under-15's grand final starts the day at 9.15am.
Entry is $5 and patrons are advised that the venue is a no alcohol, glass or smoking. A wet weather call will be made this morning with the game possibly moving to the Southern Cross University synthetic field.