Football Mid North Coast: Saints and Rangers to write another chapter in their rivalry

Extra incentive: Macleay Valley Rangers captain Paul Thurlow and Kempsey Saints captain Troy Ward are expecting a tight battle in the local derby. Photo: Callum McGregor.
Extra incentive: Macleay Valley Rangers captain Paul Thurlow and Kempsey Saints captain Troy Ward are expecting a tight battle in the local derby. Photo: Callum McGregor.

The Macleay Valley Rangers and Kempsey Saints will write another chapter in their rivalry when the two sides meet at Eden St Oval in the round nine fixture this Saturday.

Both sides enter the contest on the back of a loss, but Rangers and Saints sit in the top four on the ladder as they reach the halfway point of the season.

Rangers have won six of their seven games while Saints have had a roller coaster season and have registered four wins and three losses.

However, Rangers captain Paul Thurlow and Saints captain Troy Ward admit form is thrown out the window when the two sides meet.

“Everyone wants to win a local derby, both sides always lift for the game and take their play to another level,” Ward told the Argus.

Rangers have proven to be a bogey side for their crosstown rivals as they have won eight of the last 12 meetings and only suffered the one loss, a 3-1 defeat in round 18, 2015.

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The Rangers’ three-game winning streak against Saints could be at risk with Macleay Valley potentially entering the game without two of their stars.

John Henry is confirmed as an omission for the contest while their leader Thurlow is under an injury cloud.

The centreback damaged his calf at training last Tuesday and told the Argus on Wednesday afternoon he was a 50-50 chance of playing.

Thurlow still claims his side has a strong chance of claiming the victory.

“Saints are having a good season and have quality players all across the park,” Thurlow said.

“But we have improved ourselves this year and if we can capitalise on our chances then I know we will win.”

While the rivalry continues, with both clubs wanting to be the front runners in Kempsey, the two captains suggested the game is played in good spirits.

“There isn’t much bickering anymore and no dirty stuff out there,” Thurlow said.

“We both play hard and to win but there’s a lot of respect between the two sides.”

A victory for the Saints on their home turf would lift them to equal competition points with Rangers, while a loss will see them fall six points behind and potentially to fifth place on the ladder.