ABERDEEN has fought hard to make itself a contender in this year’s Group 21 premiership race and it doesn’t want that to come to an end against Muswellbrook tomorrow.
The Tigers missed out on a place in the major semi after a two-point loss to Singleton last week and must now regroup for the minor semi-final at McKinnon Field.
“It’s an extra game,” Aberdeen coach Mark Wilton said.
“It’s disappointing for the club that we miss out on a chance to get a home (grand final).
“But we’ll make it the hard way.”
Muswellbrook have already done it tough just to make the top four.
They only scraped in after beating Scone last week.
But the young Rams will be pleased to have made the finals for the second year in a row and could pose a threat tomorrow.
“They just need to keep their forwards going,” Wilton said.
“That’s where they’ve fallen away in the last few years, the size and quality of their forwards.
“But they’ve bolstered that up this year.”
Wilton said the Rams had some handy players, such as the Boney brothers, Marcus Bower and captain-coach Eric Smith.
Smith leads from the hooking role, but is one of a number of players with utility value in the side.
“He’s pretty good and he fills a few roles for them,” Wilton said.
“Both the Boney boys have been going well.
“I had Daley in the juniors the last couple of years in the rep side and he’s very good.
“He’s been playing centre for them.
“Cade’s been playing seven.”
The Tigers will go into the game with a few first choice players missing, including high profile signing Lee Hookey.
Injury was added to insult in the loss to Singo.
“It hurt us,” Wilton said.
“Lee Hookey is definitely out and he might not be back this year.
“He’s done a hamstring and it’s a bad tear.
“Robbie Rampling has done an AC and other shoulder ligament damage.
“Cal Belsham is still out with cartilage in his knee.
“So it was a bad weekend for us.”
The winner will face the loser of the major semi between Denman and Singleton to be played next week.