WEE WAA Panthers and North Tamworth Bears have one common link when they contest tomorrow’s Group 4 first grade preliminary final at Captain Cook Oval, Wee Waa.
Be patient and control the ball will be the basic commands from their respective coaches, Adrian Sunderland and Brad McManus, entering the knockout final.
The Bears coach said his side must complete its sets of six.
“That’s the biggest thing, complete our sets and get through them,” McManus said.
“We’ve got plenty of points in us but it’s a matter of defending them, keeping the ball away from them.”
He acknowledges Josh Trindall and Brenton Cochrane as dangermen but also believes Peter Wenner might play a much larger role after coming off the bench in the major semi against West Lions.
“He made a difference,” McManus said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not in their starting lineup.”
He also believes Kenny Anderson and Ben Power will be forwards to control as well.
“Ben Power does go good,” he said of the backrower who hits hard in defence and penetrates strongly on the right side.
“We’ve got to stop them up the middle – big Leon Taylor.
“If we do that then we can get a roll on ourselves,” he said.
The Bears have a small but mobile pack spearheaded by Marshall Barker, Jake Hawkins and Shane Wadwell.
Wadwell’s ball-playing skills and jinky running around the ruck can be a nightmare for any side.
Sunderland is hoping his side can turn around its recent slow starts with a positive beginning to tomorrow’s home final.
“It’s important we hold them back early,” Sunderland said.
“You can’t give sides a big start like we did to West the other day (West led 24-nil after 20 minutes).
“The boys are still pretty disappointed about that but it all comes back to being patient.
“We tried to get back into it by getting away from the game play and playing individually.
“We have to grind it out better – be more patient.
“North will play the same way as West too – grind away at you too.
“And then they will play off the back of Mick Watton.
“But we’ve got to stay with them, grind away ourselves and be patient.”
They have plenty of attack with the likes of Cochrane, Scott Spencer and Daniel Hamilton.
Props Taylor and Neil Gibbs were powerful at times last Sunday and Power lived up to his name with another impressive all-round display.