Candelo-Bemboka anniversary match previews

A Candelo-Bemboka Panther puts on an inspired run during the Nines Tournament. The Panthers will play host to a special anniversary round at Candelo on Saturday.

First Grade4pm

The ladder leading Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs will look to continue keep their unbeaten run when they take on the Batemans Bay Tigers in the first Group 16 fixture at the Candelo Sportsground in 32 years.

The young Bulldogs outfit have been ultra impressive in convincing wins over Eden and last year’s Premiers Bega. They will look to more strong performances from big-boppers Trent Skeers and Vic Halfpenny, whilst crafty hooker James McMillan has been creating havoc from dummy half.

Since taking out the recent Group 16 Nines, the Tigers are one from two, after a roadtrip loss to Cooma and then a good win over last year’s Group 16 Grand Finalists Narooma. Captain coach Matt Cross made a return off the bench last week with immediate impact, whilst fullback Mick Tadich has been showing flair in attack.

Should be a great match, with the clash between the Bay’s big experienced pack up against the younger, more mobile Bulldogs forwards going a long way to deciding the outcome.

Reserve Grade2.30pm

This game will recreate the 1965 Group 16 First Grade Grand Final, where Candelo defeated Bemboka 17-9. CBU will wear the green and gold jumpers of Candelo, whilst the Bay will don the black and white butcher’s stripe of Bemboka.

Last year’s Group 16 Reserve Grade Premiers CBU have made a slow start to the season, with big losses against strong Eden and Bega outfits. CBU will be without hard-working captain-coach Jake McDonald who is out injured. However with the return of a few more players from last year’s team, including backs Ben O’Reilly and Brock Ringland, as well as damaging prop Tas Neil, they will be a much tougher proposition.

The Bay are also anchored to the bottom of the Group 16 Reserve Grade ladder, with narrow losses against the Stallions and Narooma, but also have a few players returning and have named a virtual full-strength line up to go up against the Panthers. Look to big Tigers prop Marcus Neal to once again lead the way, whilst the Panthers backs really need to click this week if they are to get their first win of the season.

Ladies Tag1.30pm

Both the CBU Pink Panthers and Merimbula-Pambula Hot Doggies will be looking to register their first win of the season, in what should be an entertaining clash with plenty of ball movement.

The Hot Doggies were pipped on the bell against Eden, but suffered a heavy loss against the strong Bega Chicks which they will look to bounce back from. Watch for speedy backs Lauren Kidd and Stephanie Wallace to rack up four-pointers, whilst Kayla Jordan has been tireless this year in defence.

The Pink Panthers have yet to register any points this season so far, but after some strong training sessions this week, and the return of several players including Sam Moon and Michelle Dixon, they are confident of an improved showing. Coach Pat Coman has been greatly impressed with how the girls have developed, with many in their first season of Tag, and points to improved handling and more cohesion in defence as keytomorrow.

A huge crowd is expectedtomorrow, with the Candelo club reunion at the Candelo Hall from11 am, gates will then open at 12.30 with kick-off of the Ladies Tag match at1.30pm. There will be plenty of parking available at either end of the ground, with entry $7 for adults, $5 for pensioners and U/16’s free. Full bar, BBQ and canteen facilities will be available, and CBU merchandise will also be available for purchase.

After the game all are invited to the heritage jumper auction at the Candelo Hotel, where both sets will be auctioned off from6.30pm.

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