Brent Kite said his side needed to continue their good form in defence for this weekend's match with Byron Bay.
Brent Kite said his side needed to continue their good form in defence for this weekend's match with Byron Bay. FILE

Defence is critical for premiers

RUGBY LEAGUE: Two of the competition heavyweights will lock horns this afternoon in the headline fixture of NRRRL this weekend.

Round 3 will kick-off this afternoon with two matches, including Byron Bay hosting Tweed Coast.

Both teams are yet to taste defeat in the early stages of this year's NRRRL premiership, and this match-up will be used as a gauge to see how both teams should fair this season.

Tweed Coast Raiders coach Brent Kite said he has let his team know the competition gets harder each week, and this afternoon's game was a good example of that.

"I have let them know we are going up in quality this weekend,” Kite said.

"I have told them that this will be our toughest test.”

The Raiders have only conceded one try in their opening two games.

The Raiders defence was a huge reason they won the premiership last season, and it appears to be a strong suit again.

Kite said his side needed to have the same consistence with their defending this weekend if they are to be victorious.

"(Ballina) have recruited well so I think it will be our toughest game of the year,” he said.

"They are going to be one of the teams to beat.

"With our defence, if we do that well it will go a long way to us getting a win.”

Tweed Coast have been prolific with ball in hand thus far in 2019, scoring 86 points in their first two games.

It is part of a development which Kite says has been pleasing to watch over the last 12 months.

"We are not playing with too much structure and we are just playing what we see,” he said.

"It is great to see the young players develop their skills and play with some confidence which has been really great to see.”

Kite said his side was expecting Byron Bay captain-coach, Todd Carney, to play this weekend.

The premiership winning coach said his side were excited about the prospect of going up against the former Dally M medal winner, who stared for Byron Bay in their win last week.

Kick-off for the Round 3 clash will be at 2.45pm at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay.

The first match of the day will be the LLT premiership match at 10.45am.