Central and Clinton to renew rivalry after four years
SOCCER: Gladstone's biggest football rivalry is set to resume on Saturday night after a four-year hiatus.
Central FC will host Clinton FC in the CQ Premier League for the first time since 2014 when they play at Sun Valley Oval from 7pm.
Clinton claimed the spoils on both occasions during the 2014 season, picking up 3-0 and 4-1 wins at home and away respectively.
Only a handful of players from either side remain since those games, although both captains, Mitch Innocend (Clinton) and Garth Lawrie (Central) are still plying their trade.
Lawrie, who has two goals in four games this season, scored eight goals from 14 matches during the 2014 season when Central were last in the CQ top flight.
"I've been with the club for 20 years... It was about four years ago when we played them," he said.
"They won and that's about all I can remember about the game.
"It's always been the biggest rivalry around town and obviously it's been four years since we played.
"Everyone is looking forward to it. The club is putting on a pretty big day."
Lawrie's side will head into the match as obvious underdogs.
The skipper knows his side will need more than just the crowd on its side once the first whistle blows.
"We've got to step up a lot - we've been playing locals the last couple of years and the standard was a lot lower," he said.
"It's going to take us a few games to get into it.
"We have to start fast and try to match it with them because they've only conceded one goal this year.
"Obviously we've got to shutdown Mitch (Innocend) but they've got good players all over the place.
"I don't really know the names of most of them because we haven't played for so long."
Despite lacking knowledge on opposition players, Lawrie said his side didn't fear the unknown.
"We're confident and whenever we play them it's always a pretty close game because everyone steps up for it," he said.
"So we are confident we can get the points."
Clinton captain Innocend has three goals from four games this season and welcomed a return of the cross-town rivalry.
Formally from the Sunshine Coast, Innocend played one season for Central before switching to Clinton.
"It's good to see them back - it saves us travelling so much and brings back the old Clinton-Central rivalry," he said.
"We've got a rivalry with Cap Coast and Frenchville but it's always good to have the local boys going at it.
"There's always a bit of passion between us so I'm sure that will come out.
"They seem to be playing good football so it will be a good test."
Innocend said keeping striker Lawrie quiet would go a long way to claiming victory.