ARMIDALE had little control over losing its place in the New England top three but whether the Blues stay there is in their hands.
They host competition leader UNE Barbarians today and with a win can push above St Alberts, back into third.
It will be their first hit-out for about five weeks.
They haven’t played since the last weekend in June with their game against Albies two weeks ago washed out.
“We’ve been lucky to give a few blokes a run in seconds,” Blues coach Mike TeMoana said.
Even still, he said they were “chomping at the bit to play.”
They have the best run into the finals, and could, all things going well, finish second.
“We’ve still got to play everybody,” TeMoana said.
After Baa Baas tomorrow, they’ve got Robb, Uni, bye and then Albies in the final round.
He worked out they’ve probably got to win at least two of those to get a chance of playing the finals.
Baa Baas have set themselves up as the team to beat and since the mid-season break no-one has been able to get the better of them.
The break has given the Blues plenty of opportunity to work on a few of the areas of their game they’ve been falling down in. “We’ve focussed on our patterns,” TeMoana said.
“Our support play has been a bit lax in the forwards.”
He felt that attitude probably had a bit to do with having players that can do a lot of damage and get to the tryline by themselves.
They didn’t necessarily need the support there, he said.
They won’t be at full strength tomorrow, with a few injuries keeping players out and others are unavailable.
“(But) We’ve had a few new guys pop up that look pretty handy,” TeMoana said.
“And we should have John Roberts for the next three weeks.”
He said it would be important they kept their heads.
“We’ve got to concentrate on playing our game and not fall into any niggle,” he said.
“Baa Baas have got a lot of personality in their team.”
They’ll also need to show a bit more mongrel, especially in the forwards.
The forwards have been the backbone of a lot of the Baa Baas’ wins.
“They’ve got a good forward pack,” TeMoana said.
“If we can’t match them we’ll be in trouble.”
Making their one-on-one tackles will also be key.
TABLE: UNE Barbarians 29, Robb College 20, St Alberts College 17, Armidale 15.