Uralla still up in the air with Fijian import

FOLLOWING a step up to the top grade, some good recruitment and a Gala Day runners-up ribbon, the Uralla Tigers are yet to put any points on the board after two games.

President and coach Carl Press hopes to change that this weekend when the Tigers host the also winless Moree Boars but is having a problem with air freight.

Former Fijian World Cup squad member Sainoni Viakula had his Australian visa issued yesterday but cannot find a seat on a plane.

“I have been looking at flights on Friday all week and there are none,” Press said.

“We were looking at an early flight Saturday morning and then a flight to Armidale or Tamworth so he can play Moree but I don’t think it can happen.”

The big front rower lost his place in the World Cup run-on team last year after Petro Civinoceva came out of retirement to play.

“He will bring a load of experience and some go-forward to our pack,” Press said.

“We are a very young squad this year and have been missing experienced heads at the back end of games.”

The first grade side has only two regular players over the age of 24 and, at the end of the last game against Tingha, had eight players between the age of 17 and 19 on the field.

Before the Easter break the Tigers were leading Tingha into the break and second half before giving it away in the final 15 minutes.

They eventually went down 46-28 after Tingha opened the floodgates.

Following the injury of front rower Brent Cloak (ankle), Uralla was a bit short on front rowers and size.

“They just wore us down with big players at the end,” Press said.

Jack Mooney returns to the team this week after the UNE student was away on holidays.

He will join veteran Barry Vale and Dwayne Bailey in the front row and will add fresh legs at the back end of the game.

“Our forwards have to hold their own so our backs can do their thing,” Press said.

Mooney is one of six students playing for the Tigers this season, with three others also returning for the game.

Moree also has a fairly young roster, and the coach believes that may hurt them on the road this weekend.

“Travelling teams are struggling this season,” Press said.

“Look at Armidale going to Goondi.”

Tingha will be making that trip to the relatively unknown Gilbert Oval this Saturday, while Armidale hosts Inverell and Ashford hosts Glen Innes.

All those sides will be hoping that the red-hot Boomerangs cool down a bit after they have had another two weeks off.

The premiers will have only played one  game in five weeks by the time they take on Armidale next round following a postponement, Easter and the bye.

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