Rugby league: Port City Breakers to host Macleay Valley Mustangs in Group 3 semi-final

On the outside: Breakers centre Trae Clarke evades the Forster defence a fortnight ago. Photo: Ivan Sajko
On the outside: Breakers centre Trae Clarke evades the Forster defence a fortnight ago. Photo: Ivan Sajko

GRAND final hosting rights await the winner of Sunday’s Group 3 rugby league major semi-final at Regional Stadium.

It will be a tale of two contrasting styles when the ever-consistent Port City Breakers tackle the unpredictable Macleay Valley Mustangs.

The Breakers have gone through the season undefeated with a minimum of fuss while the Mustangs claimed second spot.

Coach Dan Kemp said the Breakers wouldn’t be forced into playing the ad-lib style the Mustangs are so good at.

“The Mustangs play a certain style of footy and we play a certain way as well, so it’s two different styles coming up against each other,” he said.

“It’s chalk and cheese, but we’re looking forward to it.

“They’ll have their moments where they’re lucky, but they can’t be lucky for 80 minutes with the way they play.

“We have to stick to what we know works for us and we’ll be right.”

“It’s chalk and cheese, but we’re looking forward to it."

Port City Breakers coach Dan Kemp

Port City enjoyed last weekend off while the Mustangs emerged with a fiery 40-32 win over Port Macquarie Sharks.

Kemp wasn’t concerned about the prospect of playing only one game in four weeks before the grand final should they win on Sunday.

“We’ll be able to tell you if it’s a good thing when it’s done,” he said.

“But obviously you do like creating some momentum, although it’s good to get a break every now and then too.”

The Breakers had their first week off in 10 weeks last weekend and Kemp said they would be ready for this weekend’s clash.

“There were a couple of the boys carrying some niggles so we were happy to have the week off,” he said.

Ben Stewart returns at five-eighth after three weeks off and Kemp was hopeful he could provide some additional attacking spark after recovering from a neck problem.

“He does this thing where he throws his head back to gain more speed and he kinked his neck a few weeks back from it,” he said.

“But he’ll come straight back in.”

We have some blokes playing reserve grade this weekend that haven’t played reserve grade all year.

Dan Kemp

Trae Clarke will provide another attacking option out wide while Mitch Fowler has revelled in his new role coming off the bench.

“He’s certainly not a bench player, but provides that impact after the first 20 minutes when everyone slows down a bit,” Kemp said.

For the first time this year the Breakers will be at full-strength.

“We have some blokes playing reserve grade this weekend that haven’t played reserve grade all year, but that’s the nature of the beast unfortunately,” Kemp said.

Reserve grade and the ladies league tag will also aim to be the first team’s into their respective grand finals.

“It’s a really good opportunity for the girls and our reggies to make it a really good day for the club,” Kemp said.

League tag kicks off at 10.55am, reserve grade at 1.15pm and then first grade follows at 3pm.