NARRABRI hasn’t taken long to show it’s going to be a force again this season and will be hoping to pick up where it left off against Barraba tomorrow.
That mightn’t be comforting news for the Rams, with the Blue Boars thrashing Quirindi 145-nil last outing.
That followed a hard-fought away win over Pirates in the first round.
They are one of four sides with two wins, but co-coach Tom Cullen feels they haven’t quite “got that rhythm yet”.
“We just need this game to get back into it,” he said.
It has been a bit of a stop-start season with a disjointed pre-season and then the two games, and break for Easter.
The Rams have made an okay start. While they haven’t got a win yet, they’ve pushed Inverell and Scone.
Cullen said they hadn’t thought too much about what Barraba’s done, but would be wary.
“I know every time we go there we seem to have the wrong attitude and we get punished for it,” Cullen said.
Attitude has been a big focus heading in, and maintaining their discipline.
“Keeping our structure no matter how unstructured the play gets,” he said.
So far that has been pretty good.
“We started the season with pretty low fitness,” Cullen said.
“It’s encouraged us to play with a bit more structure.”
Instead of just spinning it wide they’ve been keeping it a bit tighter. It seems to have worked, with Brenton Cochrane proving a real handful chiming in from fullback.
“I sort of wanted to move him there last year but we didn’t have another option at 10,” Cullen said.
Henri Knight stepping into the breach has facilitated that.
“He’s (Cochrane) like a second 10 in attack,” Cullen said.
And in defence his presence at the back really puts a lot of pressure on the opposition kicking game.
The Blue Boars won’t be quite at full strength tomorrow but pretty close to it, with only Matt McDonnell, Sam Clements and Dave Boyle missing.
The Rams will lead into a tough couple of weeks for the Blue Boars.
“We’ve got Scone and Inverell,” Cullen said. “We really want to get a roll-on.”
The breakdown will be a critical area. The Rams are renowned for spoiling and frustrating teams.
The Blue Boars plan to avoid the contest there as much as possible.
“We just want to recycle the ball quickly and play an up-tempo game,” Cullen said.
In other games tomorrow, Walcha makes the journey to Moree, Inverell travels down to Scone, Tamworth heads to Quirindi and Pirates host Gunnedah.