Bombers eye derby day win
IF you cut Jake Hayes he'll bleed red - but with black mixed in as well.
The 22-year-old should lead his Ballina Bombers side out in this Friday's Anzac Day Queensland Australian Football Association B Division South derby clash with Byron Magpies.
Despite his relatively tender years, Hayes - described simply by Bombers coach Pete Plummer as "my offsider" - was selected to lead the team this season.
It was a deserving accolade for the midfielder, who has been with the seasiders for most of the last decade and is a real one-club man.
"I was honoured," he said. "It was a real privilege.
"Obviously, being captain you have to step up. I try and do the hard work on the pitch and lead by example.
"I am learning the game, so it can be intimidating, but I'm loving it."
Lennox Head-based Hayes has been with the Bombers for most of the last decade.
He started out as a soccer player, but quickly became hooked on Aussie rules.
"I still love my soccer, but this is for me," he said.
"I like the fast tempo. You are always in the game.
"I like the running side of the game and kicking.
"It's just great fun."
Hayes, who is in his third year of a Sports Management degree at Southern Cross University, said he hoped he could achieve success for the club's senior players.
"We have players who have been here 10 years who are hanging on in there to get a flag," he said. "They deserve it.
"It's great hanging around with the older blokes and learning more about footy.
"We're all mates. We play a bit of footy and then have a beer afterwards.
"I love it."
Hayes says he cannot wait for this Friday's clash at Fripp Oval, which is the first in what is hoped will become an annual clash between the two teams.
The Bombers bounced back from a day one mauling by the Tweed Coast Tigers to spank Lismore Swans by 36 points last time out.
"I think we have a chance (for this season's flag) if we put the work in," Hayes said. "If we don't work hard, we haven't. It's as simple as that."
Friday's match kicks off at 1pm.
QUEENSLAND AFA B SOUTH LADDER:
Bond Uni (PL2, 8pts); Robina (2, 4); Lismore Swans (2, 4); Ballina (2, 4); Tweed Coast (2, 4); Byron (2, 0).
THIS WEEK'S FIXTURES: Ballina Bombers v Byron Magpies (Friday, 1pm, Fripp Oval); Robina v Bond Uni (Friday, 7pm); Tweed Coast Tigers v Lismore Swans (Saturday, 2pm).