QUESTION: How can the already massive Wee Waa/Narrabri local derby get any bigger?
The answer is when it’s a Group 4 elimination semi-final.
Come 5pm tomorrow one of them will be out of the running for the grand final while the other not only claims some local bragging rights but a place in the last three.
“We’ve done the hard work to get this far,” Wee Waa player-coach Brenton Cochrane said.
“It’s do or die now.
“Hopefully we can take that next step.
“It’ll be a big one.
“Both sides will be confident because we’ve both won one each.
“They’ll be set to fire and they’ll be confident, but we’re confident too.”
The Blues would have set their sights higher than fourth place earlier in the season.
Going to Wee Waa tomorrow was not part of the plan.
But go they must and captain Sean Russ reckons they are ready to give their all.
“Last time we played a semi out there they beat us so we want to get one back,”he said.
“We’re looking pretty sharp at the moment.
“We’ve only got two players out, Zac (Russ) and Jake Rumsby.
“We’ll field a strong team and hopefully go well.
“We’ll give it a crack anyway.”
They might only have two players missing but they’re both Group reps.
Rumsby has also been in outstanding form lately.
“I think he’s been the best backrower in the Group,” Russ said.
“He hurt his sternum against Norths and didn’t play last week and I don’t think he’ll play again this season.
“It’s a big loss.”
None of the Blues will play again this season if they don’t shut down the Wee Waa danger men.
The likes of Cochrane and Josh Trindall could score the bulk of the points on their own.
“They have blokes who get the bounce of the ball,” Russ said.
“We have to shut those blokes down that’s for sure.”
The Panthers are also without a couple of key players in Mitch Kelly and Justin Knight.
Cochrane said the Blues have some standout players but his side has to be ready for an attack from anywhere.
“They have some players who fly under the radar,” he said.
“You have to worry about everyone at the moment, because I think they’re set to fire.
“They’ll have that belief.”
The old rivals will draw a big crowd to Cook Oval.
Plenty of those will be from Narrabri but the home side hopes it will have the bulk of the support.
“Wee Waa/Narrabri games always draw a big crowd,” Cochrane said.
“Being a final we’ll also have people there from Moree and Gunnedah and they’ll support whoever they want to support.
“It’ll be a big day.”
Russ said the “vocal” Wee Waa crowd will only spur him on.
The day begins with under 16s between Narrabri and North Tamworth, the reserves are next, also featuring the Blues against Moree, while in the under 18s Farrer takes on North.
The winner of the first grade clash will progress to the final against either West Lions or North Tamworth.