Coaches find common ground ahead of Port Macquarie derby

There isn’t a lot that Port United and Port Saints agree on.

But they both find common ground when it comes to a local derby and what it means … it always means something.

Victory for either side on Saturday at Dixie Park will ensure they hold bragging rights over the other for another summer.

United currently sit in second spot ahead of Saints on goal difference with Saints coach Darrell Pascoe labelling the fixture as “business as usual”.

“There’s no such thing as a derby that doesn’t mean anything; it certainly means something to us as we haven’t had a lot of success against them in recent years,” he said.

“We’re cross-street rivals almost; you could pick up a stone and throw it onto either field.”

Wilson Harries is unavailable through suspension but Pascoe said otherwise he had a full compliment to choose from.

“We’re certainly in a lot better shape than the last time we played them.”

United coach Nathan Wade has only tasted defeat once in a local derby in the last three years.

It’s a record he’s looking to preserve as his team also looks to cap off a perfect home record in 2020.

“I think we just want to keep a clean record at Dixie; we have lost at Wayne Richards but not Dixie so that’s our main aim,” he said.

Like most local derby fixtures, there has traditionally been little separating the two teams and Wade expected that to continue.

But the challenge was to find motivation for his side for one last week.

“We’re trying to get the motivation there for the players because there’s nothing at the end of the road,” he said.

“There are no semis or anything this year.”

Young guns Ben Oakley and Lachlan Walker look set to retain their places in the top grade, pending their fitness from an under-18 fixture on Friday night.

“We’ll be pretty close to full strength, but we might give the young boys a go again,” Wade said.

“We’ll see how they pull up from another game against Saints on Friday night.”

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