Football Mid North Coast: Undefeated Macleay Valley Rangers host crosstown rivals Kempsey Saints

Rivalry: Macleay Valley Rangers captain Paul Thurlow and Kempsey Saints captain Troy Ward are expecting a fiery clash in Saturday's crosstown rivalry. Photo: Callum McGregor.

Rivalry: Macleay Valley Rangers captain Paul Thurlow and Kempsey Saints captain Troy Ward are expecting a fiery clash in Saturday's crosstown rivalry. Photo: Callum McGregor.

Kempsey will be divided into purple and green when the Macleay Valley Rangers host crosstown rivals Kempsey Saints on Saturday.

The two clubs will do battle in the first of two regular season meetings, but it won’t be a surprise if the two meet in the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

Saints first grade captain Troy Ward and Rangers first grade captain Paul Thurlow agreed there is an increased level of intensity in the local derby.

“Form goes out the window when we meet,” Thurlow said.

“It is always close games, always a goal in it and never a blow out.

“On the field we will do anything to get one over them but after the final whistle we are all mates.”

Ward believes it is a realistic chance the two sides will meet in the business end of the season and is excited at the prospect of the finals meeting.

“There would be a lot on the line if we were to meet in the finals,” Ward said.

“Bragging rights plus the chance to eliminate your biggest rival would lead to both sides putting everything into the match – it would be awesome to be on the field in that type of match and also for the spectators.”

Ward said there is mystery surrounding the Rangers style and mentioned as centre-back he will have his hands full. 

“They have a new coach in charge and have brought up a few young players who we haven’t seen play before,” Ward said.

“They are scoring plenty of goals this year so I will need to be at my best.”

The Rangers are undefeated to start the season, winning their three matches in comfortable fashion.

Meanwhile the Saints are in third position after losing their first match of the season against the Forster-Tuncurry Tigers last Saturday.

Reserve grade will meet in a top of the table clash, with Saints the only side entering round five unbeaten.

“It is great to see the two Kempsey clubs doing well,” Thurlow said.

“We haven't both had success at the same time, either we have been in the finals series and they weren’t or they have and we missed out.”

Reserve grade kicks off at 1.15pm, followed by first grade at 3pm.

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