IT HAS already been a big week for key North Tamworth players and that’s before they even think about tomorrow’s Group 4 major semi- final against West Lions at Scully Park.
Player-coach Shaun Ferguson and representative centre Andrew Moodie have both become dads again during the week and tomorrow they can help deliver the home grand final back to Jack Woolaston Oval.
The Bears will take the same simple approach into the game as they have all year.
“I think whoever has possession of the footy and makes the fewest errors and makes the one-on-ones will come away with the points,” Ferguson said.
The sides are evenly matched, though it is fair to say the Lions have the bigger of the packs.
North has relied on backrowers stepping up to the front row all season but there’s no denying the results.
“We’ve gone really well in a lot of games this year,” Ferguson said.
“We’ve probably had better sides in the past but you can only do what you can with what you’ve got.”
One of those who can slot into the front row is Tom Woolaston, who returns to the side.
“He’s been away but he’s back,” Ferguson said.
“He’ll play reserve grade.
“Then he’ll probably come off the bench for us as a utility.”
The Bears have named a side for the game but Ferguson said last night’s last training session would ultimately determine who plays where.
Getting players to training has been an issue, what with all the hospital visits.
Ferguson’s wife Kate delivered a daughter, Dakota-May, earlier in the week while Moodie’s partner Annie had a little boy.
Meanwhile the Lions are aware of North’s basic game plan.
“What makes Norths good is that they do all the simple things right,” West coach Tony La Chiusa said.
“They get through their sets and get to their kicks, they’re pretty good in defence, they slow the ruck down and get quick play the balls, all of those simple things.
“There’s nothing too flashy, just good, grinding football.
“We’ve got to find a way around that.”
Part of the Lions’ plan is to cut out the mistakes that cost them in that last derby.
But they want to do that without changing their naturally attacking style too much.
“It’s worked well for us,” La Chiusa said.
“If you look at the last two grand finals we’ve put some big scores on.
“But it’s about finding an equilibrium,” he said.
“It’s about getting the guys who have come from the second division to know when to shut it down and turn it off.
“You don’t want to turn it on in the wrong part of the field.
“If you put on a low percentage play and it doesn’t work you’re defending in your own quarter.
“That’s what happened against Norths last time.”
The Lions have named skipper Brendan Hunt at hooker with Matt Nean and Ben Crowley paired in the halves.