BRICKWALL: Stuart Kelly (right) isn't afraid to put his body on the line for the Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies.
BRICKWALL: Stuart Kelly (right) isn't afraid to put his body on the line for the Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies. Sam Flanagan

Magpies plan on sticking it to the competition benchmark

RUGBY LEAGUE: Back in top flight footy in 2019, the Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies will try to secure their first win of the season on Sunday when they host the Grafton Ghosts.

The Magpies fell just short against the Sawtell Panthers last week, a game captain-coach Daniel Tempest said they'll learn from.

"It was sloppy at the start but I think in the second half we really turned it around. I think if we had of completed one more set we would have won that game,” Tempest said.

"So there's lots of positives we can take out as well as things we can work on.”

The assignment doesn't get any easier this week for the Magpies, as they collide with a Ghosts team coming off a 34 point victory over the Orara Valley Axemen in the opening round.

Tempest said his team won't be intimidated on their home patch and will be bringing the fight to the Ghosts.

"Grafton are the benchmark, especially now they have Clint Greenshields back.”

"The best way we can attack them is to play for the full 80 minutes and be aggressive. We have to try and put them off their game, we can't just sit back and be like 'it's Grafton' and let them dictate.”

One of the keys for the Magpies attack this year is the newly formed halfback-fullback combination.

"The halfback we have now, Larnus Leisha, has been really amazing for us in the last couple of trial games.”

"So we've moved Luke (Beaumont) back to fullback where he has a lot of experience.

"So Stuart Kelly's in the centres now where his defence is second to none, even at his age.”

The game begins at 2.35pm at Bellingen Park on Sunday.

Group 2 round two fixtures

Bellingen Valley Dorrigo Magpies v Grafton Ghosts

Orara Valley Axemen v Woolgoolga Seahorses

South Grafton Rebels v Macksville Sea Eagles

Coffs Harbour Comets v Sawtell Panthers