A STRING of home games will highlight the final weeks of the Far North Coast Rugby Union season for the Lismore City Greens.
The Greens only played at home once in the first half of the season and until recently had been forced to train in a car park due to ongoing ground closures.
This weekend they host an in-form Wollongbar-Alstonville team in what doubles as the clubs annual Westpac Rescue Helicopter Fundraiser. On July 30, they will take on Ballina in what will double as Ladies Day before the final game of the season on August 6 with a Family Fun Day against Casuarina.
Despite being down on troops and having not won a game, the club plans to be competitive and play out the rest of the season.
"We've been training in a car park behind Lismore funerals until recently so we're probably about half a season behind where the other clubs are at now," club president Peter Everingham said.
"They've been really generous with their support this year; some of them came in and helped with the clean up while others donated money.
"We owe it to them to honour our commitments and make sure that we're fielding competitive teams while having a crack ourselves."
First grade showed what it is capable of when they pushed competition leaders Bangalow a fortnight ago.
A late try sealed a 22-17 win for Bangalow while Lismore forward Xavier Sapolo picked up official player-of-the-match honours.
He backed up that effort with a strong performance in a losing effort against Lennox Head on the weekend.
The Greens were without a host of young players including five-eighth Jack Taylor and fullback Joe Davis.
Taylor was representing NSW at the Australian Schoolboy Championships while Davis was away with the clubs under-18 team.
Teenager Zack Byrne has been one of the club's best prospects in recent years and also played representative football this season with the NSW Country under-18 team.
Everingham rates all three youngsters and said they would all likely be moving on to play at a higher level next season.
"Jack is tall, fast, and has a really good kicking game," he said.
"He's in Year 12 now, so I assume he'll be picked up by a club in Brisbane or Sydney.
"I think we've just lost Zack to Newcastle and I think Joey is going away for uni next year.
"You can't stand in their way, they need to go and have a crack to see how far they can make it.
"The best result for us is for them to have success while they're away and maybe come back at some point and play for us again further down the track.
"We've got a good amount of juniors coming through and the club will be in a really good position over the next few years.
"A lot of the hard work has been done and we certainly don't plan on going anywhere.
"It will be up to us in the next few years to get ourselves up there with the top teams in the competition."
The top four currently looks wide open with six teams a chance of playing semi-finals this year.
Bangalow has been the most consistent, losing only once when they played Wollongbar-Alstonville last weekend.
Casuarina is in second spot while Lennox Head moved into fourth after the last round. Ballina and Byron are capable sides and sit just outside the top four.
Both could give the competition a shake if they play finals while Wollongbar-Alstonville have come good at the right time of the season. Finals start August 20 with the grand final on September 10.
LADDER: Bangalow 34, Casuarina 26, Wollongbar-Alstonville 24, Lennox Head 22, Ballina 19, Byron Bay 17, Lismore 1
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