Magpies get extra motivation for first NRRRL clash

Each player wore Zane's name with honour and pride on their wrist for the game.
Each player wore Zane's name with honour and pride on their wrist for the game.

RUGBY LEAGUE: Lower Clarence Magpies' captain-coach Dan Randall said his side won't need any extra excuses to turn up for their first clash of the 2017 NRRRL season when they battle Ballina Seagulls in memory of the late Zane Purcell.

In was during the corresponding clash at Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina two years that Magpies player Purcell tragically collapsed on the field.

Randall - who grew up with and was a close friend of Purcell's - said the emotion of the day would spill over to the first grade clash.

"This will be the first time the senior sides have had a chance to play in Zane's honour," he said.

"It is going to be a massive weekend for our club. The reserve grade boys will be playing with plenty of heart out there and our first grade side will need to lift off the back of that game."

With their two pre-season trial games washed out and losing the first round to the heavy deluge last week, the Magpies are burning to get out on the field.

NEW BRIGADE: Lower Clarence Magpies 2017 recruits Alex McMillan, captain-coach Dan Randall and bulldozing prop Jirra Breckenridge are steaming into today's first trial match.
NEW BRIGADE: Lower Clarence Magpies 2017 recruits Alex McMillan, captain-coach Dan Randall and bulldozing prop Jirra Breckenridge are steaming into today's first trial match. Matthew Elkerton

Randall said his side would need to harness that energy as they look to kick-start their return to the NRRRL senior ranks.

"We are all keen to go, it is actually annoying we keep missing out on action," he said. "With no on-field action I thought we may as well train as hard as we can, so we have been running a lot of full body contact work during the week."

It was a decision Randall almost came to regret when he had to run head on into heavy-hitting front-rower Ryan Binge.

"He definitely takes a lot of stopping," he said. "Our forward pack is full of size and experience with guys like Boxhead, Bombay (Jordan Walker), Alex (McMillan) and Jirra Breckenridge.

>> RELATED STORY: Walters playing with Clarence league history

"Throw in Rhys Walters and it is a dominate pack. They're also very mobile and are doing a lot of things with the ball in hand."

Randall said the side would be able to shift the ball through their forwards to get big bodies running at tiring edge defenders.

"We don't want to make it too fancy and over-complicate things. It will be good hard running and tackling for our boys," he said.

"It will all be about getting in and doing your job and turning up for your mates. We will be ready."

This Sunday's clash between Lower Clarence and Ballina will take place at Kingsford-Smith Park in Ballina. Reserve Grade kicks off at 1.30pm followed by First Grade at 2.45pm.

Topics:  ballina seagulls clarence league dan randall league lower clarence magpies rugby league zane purcell

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