NORTH Tamworth will play its second local derby in as many weeks when it takes on newcomers Oxley Diggers as part of the first group double-header at the Manilla Showground today.
Chris Vidler’s second division Manilla Tigers will have a tough day hosting Kooty at 1.30pm, before the Diggers play their second ever Group 4 game against the Bears at 3pm.
Diggers coach Jamie Trindall is under no illusions about the new club’s chances.
“We would love to turn up and beat them but we have to be realistic,” Trindall said.
“We are creating a brand new club so just need to concentrate on building a team environment and having some fun.”
Last week’s 88-30 loss at the hands of Gunnedah was not the ideal way to start the season, although it was only 24-28 in the second half.
The team has taken a lot of positives out of the game, namely scoring thirty points.
Having five players not show up to the game and not having a full bench hurt, although Trindall is hoping that won’t be the case any more.
“I had a great side picked and then they didn’t turn up,” Trindall said.
“Now I am only picking reliable guys and the others will have to work their way back into the side.”
President Mick Schmiedel will steer the new side around from hooker this week.
The 46-year-old came on last week and was impressive, giving the team the direction it lacked in the first half.
Schmiedel, Trindall, and veteran forward Damien Allen are the only players who have a lot of top grade experience.
“We are going to have to lead the way and it is not going to be easy,” Trindall said.
“We can’t expect to just put big scores on or win every game just yet.”
Bears coach Brad McManus isn’t counting the two points just yet.
“We can’t move away from what we have been doing or you can find yourself at the wrong end of the scoreboard,” McManus said.
“It was good to open our account with a win over Wests but now we have to keep going.”
The Bears will take the exact same squad that won last week to Manilla.
“It is good to have the same squad on the park and we are looking forward to it.”
The Bears halves combination of Abel Carney and Kieran Fisher are starting to click and will be a handful at the back end of the season but it is the pack that is impressing early.
Captain Marshall Barker and Shane Wadwell led the way last week and will definitely cause problems for the smaller Diggers pack.
“When those boys go well the team goes well,” McManus said.
Tomorrow will see Wests travel to Narrabri and Wee Waa host Gunnedah.