Far North Coast rugby union season preview

Ben Sloane (above) is back playing for Lismore City in Far North Coast rugby union this season. Photos Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.
Ben Sloane (above) is back playing for Lismore City in Far North Coast rugby union this season. Photos Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.

Ballina

Coach Karl Lupton is back for a second straight year while the Seahorses should have enough strike power to play finals.

Front-rower Sam Pearce returns while five-eighth Sam Giltrap will be the key man once again.

"Numbers have been steady at training and pretty much everyone is back again," Lupton said.

"Ryan Biscoe has come across from Bangalow and Sam (Pearce) coming back gives us some stability in the front row."

Bangalow

New coach Ross Larsson takes on the top job with plenty of experience and could be what the Rebels need to reach the next level.

"We've assembled a good squad with a bit more youth this season," Larsson said.

"Our backline is strong, I'm really happy with our depth, too.

"It's always a challenge against the bigger clubs but I'm keen for us to achieve that next level of success this season.

"Mullumbimby train with us as our second grade and we'll select our best 15 from both groups to play first grade."

Casino

New coaches Marty Clapp and Mark Flynn have been working with a young Bulls side.

Clapp coached Bangalow a few seasons ago while Flynn played at Randwick.

"We're trying to change a few things and make it a place where players have success," Clapp said.

"That comes with winning games and we need to work together to achieve that goal.

"We've probably got a few pieces of the jigsaw missing at the moment but there are promising signs.

"They're all local guys and a lot of them have played together right through juniors, a lot of other clubs don't have that connection."

Casuarina

Played finals the last two seasons and should be in the mix again.

Coach Mick Hall is back for a third year and has been focussing on the the teams defence in the offseason.

Flanker Rowan Morgan on the run for Lennox Head in a preseason trial game against the Gold Coast Eagles. Photo John Bungate

Flanker Rowan Morgan on the run for Lennox Head in a preseason trial game against the Gold Coast Eagles. Photo John Bungate

Lennox Head

Former Wallaby Berrick Barnes is in his second year at the club with Steve Condon and Mick Sheather sharing the coaching duties.

The Trojans won the grand final last year and have already won the Crescent Head sevens and defeated New England premiers Walcha 40-7 in a preseason challenge game.

"It's very exciting times at the club and we've got a lot to look forward to this season," club president James Pearson said.

"A few clubs have really dwindled in numbers over the last few years but we seem to be growing in juniors and seniors, which is fantastic."

Lismore

Ray Taylor is back for one more year as coach with the Greens aiming to blood players from its premiership-winning under-18s team from last season.

Action between Bangalow and Lismore City in a preseason trial game. Photo Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.

Action between Bangalow and Lismore City in a preseason trial game. Photo Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.

Five-eighth Ben Sloane is back on deck with plenty of numbers at training.

"We're very optimistic about the season ahead," club president Peter Everingham said.

"We lost a lot of blokes early with injuries in 2020, we'll be hoping for a bit more luck this year.

"We've filled all our junior grades through to first grade and also have under-16 girls and a women's team."

Wollongbar-Alstonville

No major changes for the Pioneers with brothers Ben, Daniel and Josh Damen all expected to play.

Hooker Bill Johnston will lead the tight five while Paul Jeffery is coaching again.

The club is in its 30th year and will be aiming for its eighth premiership in first grade.

They have played in the grand final every year since 2012.