THE first derby of 2014 between Lower Macleay Magpies and South West Rocks Marlins will be contested on Saturday at Smithtown Oval.
The two clubs from the Hastings League have met only a handful of times, but a strong rivalry has formed.
The Magpies have cemented their place as a strong force in the competition since their inaugural season in 2008. Six years down the track they have a premiership title and numerous other accolades.
The Marlins entered the league last year and proved they have their own merits after making the semi-finals in their first season.
This year could be described as a transition year for the Magpies, as the club farewelled some key players last season, but welcomed a new breed of enthusiastic young chargers.
Luke Dufty is leading the team as captain-coach, his first year doing the job solo, as he shared the role with the now retired Michael Hughes.
Dufty brings a wealth of experience to this side, despite his age. He is no stranger in putting in the hard yards on the field and prides himself to lead by example.
For the Marlins this year is all about building on the strong foundation they laid last season. They have retained their core players and have the bonus of key signings Tony Duncan and Grant Coleman.
Once again the side will be guided by coach Craig Smith and captain Grant Schubert.
Last year’s clashes between the two clubs produced some of the biggest crowds seen at local football matches for a number of years. And this season is expected to be no different as both clubs have vocal and passionate supporters.
The Magpies secured the bragging rights in last year’s two fixtures, winning both games. Both games were very close, 26-20 (Smithtown Oval) and 32-22 (South West Rocks Oval).
Saturday’s clash will kick off at 2.30pm. There will be full bar and canteen facilities at the grounds.