Wests Barbarian James Courtice soars higher than Alloway Falcons Anthony Matthews to win this line-out on Friday night.
Wests Barbarian James Courtice soars higher than Alloway Falcons Anthony Matthews to win this line-out on Friday night. Gary Hutchison

Falcons' wing speed a test

ALLOWAY Falcons will be without three of their stars for their All-Safe Spring Cup fifth round clash with high flyers Bundaberg Turtles tonight.

Captain Hugh Byrnes, outside centre Adam Lucke and tall timber No. 8 Anthony Matthews are all unavailable for the match.

But coach Nathan Freeman will welcome back electrifying fly-half Dennis Saunders.

He will also pitch two new potential game-breakers into the fray, lightning-fast Michael Stayte, who was one of the stars in Diggers’ unbeaten season in the just completed Football Bundaberg Premier League, and Brothers Rugby League 11’s (Reserve grade) prolific try scorer Quade McGrory.

“Quade will fill Adam’s big shoes at outside centre, and with Dennis back, Mitch Devitt at inside centre, Jeremy Dimes at fullback, Daniel Bailey who played league for Isis last year, and Staytey in the back-line, it’s going to be just brilliant,” Freeman said.

“Michael (Stayte) is small but is a genuine athlete and he was kicking balls at training (on Wednesday) night and was punching them over from everywhere, and that’s going to be an added bonus.

“We’ve also got Kyle Galloway back from Stingrays on the Sunshine Coast, and he played scrumhalf for Queensland schoolboys last year.

“We will miss Hugh (Byrnes) but Andrew Nielsen, who plays either open-side flanker or second row, will step up as captain, and we will also miss Adam and Anthony Matthews, with his height as he stands at 213cm, but we’ll still have a top side.”

The Falcons toughed out a 12-5 victory over Wests Barbarians last Friday night, while the Turtles put Isis Crushers to the sword, running out 67-17 victors.

Freeman knows the magnitude of their task especially after the top-of-the-table Turtles terrorised them when they first met on September 17.

“Last week it was very tight against Barbars but it was a really good game and both teams played really well, but Turtles again showed that they are the team to beat,” he said.

“They also pumped us 57-7 last time but it was only the second game of the season and we had a heap of new guys that night, and this week is going to be a totally different ball game.”

He named the Turtles two “big guns” Matt and Josh Tanner as his side’s biggest danger men.

“But Luke Cummins, if he is playing, is a quality player as well, Stu Milowski up in the forward pack is also always dangerous, and their entire back-line which is pretty much Easts and Wests from league, are also playing really well.

“It is important that we build towards the finals. Each week we are getting better, but we will take each week at a time.”

Meanwhile, the Crushers will be hoping to put last week’s humiliation behind them when they suit up against the Barbarians who will also be keen for a win and to consolidate their position on the ladder.



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