SPECIAL GAME: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs attacks the Australian Army Thunder defence while playing for the Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies in the annual Sgt Matthew Locke MG Charity Match in 2017.
SPECIAL GAME: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs attacks the Australian Army Thunder defence while playing for the Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies in the annual Sgt Matthew Locke MG Charity Match in 2017. Brad Greenshields

Magpies fit and firing ahead of huge match

RUGBY LEAGUE: It's a game which unites a community like few others and this weekend will be no different.

The annual Sgt Matthew Locke MG Charity Match holds a special place on the calendar for Bellingen residents and the town will be out in force once more this Saturday when their team clashes with the Australian Army Thunder.

New Magpies coach Daniel Tempest is looking forward to mentoring in the game for the first time.

"I'm excited, it's huge for the club, community and players,” Tempest said.

"We've really put an emphasis on what the game is about, not just the great charity but we're representing a hero from our town.”

Tempest said the match has been a major focus of the pre-season and his side are desperate to win as the Thunder have gotten the better of the Magpies in recent years.

The club even opted out of the Coffs Coast 9s to concentrate on the match.

Tempest noted the hard work his troops have put in over the summer months will stand them in good stead this weekend.

"Training has been great, we've had plenty of numbers turning up and we've landed a couple of the Nambucca players. It's been really competitive and it's going to be a headache for me to pick a side.”

"We're expecting a tough challenge, they're big and strong. I think it will be a great game and we're looking forward to it.”

Gates open at 11am at Bellingen Park with the main game starting at 6pm. The Orara Valley Axemen are also in action on the day as they clash with the Air Force.