The Bell Ringer Round 3 preview

By Donny Bell

For the Central Coast there are no personnel changes from their impressive 24-10 win over the Western Suburbs Magpies, however Jack Frasca moves back to fullback where he played in the round 1 loss to the Sharks shifting Lewis Sheens onto the wing which pushes Tyson James into the centres, where he also lined up in that round 1 clash.

The Magpies would have entered last weekends game as slight favourites after the Central Coast lost their opening clash 48-8, but they flew out of the blocks with try just 1 minute into the game. The Magpies fought back 5 minutes later to make it 4-all and a bit of an arm wrestle ensued in the opening 35, but two tries in 3 minutes just before the break had the Roosters on top at 16-4. Western Suburbs closed the gap just 2 minutes after halftime and some would have feared another second half collapse, but the Central Coast lads steadied the ship, defended stoutly and got the job done.

The Roosters have 5 players in their 18 man squad that have graduated from their Harold Matthews team from last year that made the finals, while another 5 are in their 2nd year of SG Ball footy. They will be no easy beats, but again we should expect to be competitive in this game. One of the key strengths for the Roosters will be their front row with Mark O’Meley’s son Jake and another second year player in Ben Ma’U

The Pirates have just the two changes from the side beaten 30-10 by the North Sydney Bears with Jack Holt making a straight swap with Johnathan Clark while the talented Kade Macdonald returns creating a re-shuffle as Jaiden Wilkinson misses a spot in the 17. Macdonald goes into 6 forcing Jaydon Solomon to the bench utility role, while returning star Ollie Callan moves into the starting side in the back row.

Once again the Pirates were extremely competitive in the opening 25-30 minutes of the game against the Bears with the scores locked at 10-all after Bowman Stein pounced on a Leighmon Hohaia Katene grubber. With both these teams going through the 2017 SG Ball season winless the nervous Bears took the option of a penalty goal right on halftime to give them an 8 point lead at the break. While the Pirates battled on in the second half it wasn’t enough for them to tighten up the score and play on the North Sydney anxiety.

There are no easy games in this competition, but the return of Macdonald will give the Pirates more options in attack, while Ollie Callan being a week fitter should sure up our defence in a game we should see as one where we can start to develop that winning culture coach Dan Manning has been talking about.

The match will take place at Morry Breen oval in Wyong with kick off at 10:30am WA time.

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