Kendall Blues lose star Jahbe Latham

Offload: Buddy King in action for the Lake Cathie Raiders last season.
Offload: Buddy King in action for the Lake Cathie Raiders last season.

KENDALL Blues five eighth Jahbe Latham has been snapped up by Wauchope’s Group 3 side but Hastings League president Geoff Connor still expects the defending premiers to be strong when the Hastings League kicks off again on Saturday.

The Blues will get their 2015 campaign going with a trip to Kempsey to play Lower Macleay, and will miss Latham dearly.

Connor said the team would bounce back well.

“I’m still tipping them to be good,” he said.

Grand finalist Comboyne will take on Lake Cathie Raiders on their home turf, and Connor likes the Tigers’ engine room.

“They have a big, robust forward pack,” he said.

He wasn’t writing off the Raiders, who will be led yet again by captain-coach Bo Wilson.

The Raiders have a host of danger men. Winger Drew Smith will beat the defence in the blink of an eye, and the Bruen brothers can be a nightmare in the halves.

“You’ve gotta watch them,” Connor said.

Boardies fans can head to Stuart Park and check out their first game of the season against South West Rocks Marlins.

The Marlins have a new captain-coach, Ian Schubert, and they’ve also snared former Macleay Valley Mustang Owen Blair Junior.

He scored four tries in the Bain Cup decider.

Long Flat Dragons travel to Beechwood Oval to face the Shamrocks. The Dragons have lost big Vance Byles to union team the Hastings Valley Vikings, but should still knock over the Shamrocks.

LATE CHANGE OF VENUE: The Boardies v Marlins match is now at Regional Stadium, not Stuart Park.