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Times Sport


Good chance for NSW to beat Cats


Wins by NSW over the ACT Australian Foot ball League have been few and far between in the past 30 years, but it has a good chance of improving on that against the Canberra Costain Cats today.

I he match, at Football Park, Phillip, beginning 2,15pm, is the last Foster's Shield encounter for both for 1985 after losing to Queensland and Tasmania.

Today's curtainraisers are between NSW and ACT Superules teams at 10am and Ainslie and Eastlake under-19s at 11.45.

Since 1950, NSW has won four encounters with the ACT, the last being in Wagga in 1980, 17.10 (112) to 10.11 (71). The balance is heavily

in the ACT's favour.

Things could be different today though, with NSW again bolstered by its Riverina talent to the tune of about half the squad of 21. Eleven are from the Riverina and 10 from Sydney clubs, with Campbelltown well represented with four.

NSW lost to Queensland by 56 points in Wagga but improved to lose to Tasmania by 15 in Hobart. Against Tasmania, the Waratahs led well at the 26 minute mark when a player, still groggy from an earlier clash, marked 40m out but elected to hand pass instead of kicking for goal. That provided a turning point for the home side, which rattled on four goals in the last seven minutes to win.

The ACT lost to Queensland by two goals on May 12 but found Tasmania, and full-forward Wayne Fox, with 12 goals, too much of a handful in Hobart on May 25 when it lost 112-160. Earlier in the season, the Cats had lost to the Swans.

The ACT has looked for some more attacking depth by posting Geoff Hocking at centre half forward and promoting Greg Nichols to full for ward, leaving Eastlake's Simon Overland to shoul

der the ruck burden.

The biggest clash should be between the ACT's half-forward line of Hocking, Belconnen teammate Don Lowe and Eastlake's big-occasion man, Mark Southwell, against the experienced NSW half-back


NSW vice-captain Mark Fraser played 31 games with South Melbourne, including some good performances on Kevin "Hungry" Bartlett, of Rich mond and Victorian Football League fame. He is now with Ganmain Grong Grong-Matong.

Gerald Pieper, the captain, is from Wagga Tigers and trialled with the Swans before returning to Wagga.

Picper's younger brother, Russel, has been named in the centre, and former Hawthorn cham pion John Hendrie, now with North Shore, has been retained in a forward pocket after a six-goal effort against Tasmania.

Narrandera newcomer Peter Quirk was outstan ding at training in Wagga this week and is expected to turn in a big game.

The NSW half-forward line should be strong, with centre half-forward Mike Winter the subject of attention from Swans' talent scouts and Essendon looking at his flanker, Steve Cole.

Full-forward Andrew Vanderfeen represented Tasmania eight times at centre half-forward and is now with East Wagga Kooringal Hawks. He was named the player of the carnival in Belconnen's pre season fixture this year.

Geoff Noack, who has been named in the for ward pocket but could ruck-rove, was outstanding for NSW against Queensland in Wagga in April.

The usual problems co-ordinating training for a team drawn from both the Riverina and Sydney has been a problem for NSW director of coaching and former Richmond player Ron Thomas, who is reported to be concerned at the possible edge ACT could have through its more extensive repre sentative program. His assistant is Greg Leech, the Mangoplah Cookardinia United coach in the Riv erina.

Both teams have great incentive to win, with this the last chance to redress the situation where both have lost their earlier matches.

NSW could well cause an upset, but a stronger preparation should give the ACT more stamina and teamwork and the home ground advantage could be enough to tip the scales in favour of the home side.

The NSW team: backs, Ian Rainbird (St George), Ian Male (Barellan United), Gerry Toscan (Griffith); half backs, Mark Fraser (vc, Ganmain-Grong Grong Matong), Gerald Pieper (c, Wagga Tigers), Peter Quirk (Narran dera); centrcs, Paul Smith (Campbelltown), Russell Pieper ()V«R(ja Tigers), I larvey McRae (Balmain); half-forwards, Steve Zhara (Campbelltown), Mike Winter (Ganmain GGM), Steve Cole (Mangoplah Cookardinia United); forwards, John Hendrie (North Shore), Andrew Van derfeen (Cast Wagga Kooringal), Geoff Noack (Campbelltown); rucks, Steve McMahon (Leeton), Rus sel I Uurnan (Narrandera), Brian Kershaw (Campbelltown); interchange, Russell Matherson (Campbelltown). Anthony O'Donoghue (Western Sub-' urbs), Frank Gleeson (Balmain).

Melbourne's Dave Louttit marks over his teammate Steven Icke at the MCG yesterday, as Hawthorn's Peter Knights runs on right. Hawthorn won 11.31 (97) to 12.9(81).