FOR two of them its “do or die” but for Barraba and Quirindi today’s Group 4 Second Division semi-finals have a safety valve.
Barraba Bulldogs and Quirindi Grasshoppers match up in a Group 4 Second Division major semi-final at Barraba Recreation Ground.
Winner hosts the September 7 grand final and loser plays the winner of today’s Kootingal/Dungowan minor semi-final at Kootingal Oval.
That’s where it becomes desperate.
A game Kootingal coach Stu Dines knows is a knockout.
“It’s do or die,” Dines said.
“A huge game for both clubs.”
His Roosters could have easily won last week’s qualifying final at Quirindi Sportsground but instead find themselves tackling a Dungowan Cowboy side which booted Bendemeer out of the premiership race with a 30-10 win at Dungowan Recreation Reserve last Saturday.
“They are always tough,” Dines said of the Cowboys.
“We had our chances too,” he said of the Quirindi game.
“Among other things, but we won’t go into that.
“We did the same last time we played them (Quirindi) – let them get away on us.”
He hopes the Roosters will be at full strength but said “we could have one or two out”.
That could include Nathan Hamlin.
His loss would be a major blow.
The former West Lion and Pirate rugby union first grader was outstanding against the Cowboys the last time they met, cutting the Cowboys apart on the left-hand fringe.
The Cowboys ride into Kootingal with a full-strength side coming off a good win against Bendy where captain-coach Luke Taylor led by example with some storming runs.
The Cowboy bench, particularly Ashley Swan and Tom Borger, gave some great impetus to the team as well.
Up at Barraba the Grasshoppers will be looking to their big men such as Damien Allan and Nick O’Leary to take on the Bulldog pack.
Both Allan and O’Leary have been in great form, with little hooker, Matt McCulloch, outstanding in the Grasshopper run to the finals.
They will encounter a Bulldog side at full strength and with a lot of team spirit fostered by plenty of family connections.
Not only do father and son Geoff and Luke White line up in the centres but big Tim Mallise and his younger twin brothers, Jock and Zac, are also in the side.
“We have a lot of good local family ties,” captain-coach Tim Coombes said.
“But Quirindi will be tough. They have been playing well the last month and we won’t be taking them lightly.”