NARRABRI has been in some ominous form in the last couple of weeks but is preparing for a stern test at Dangar Park today.
With good reason. The last time the Blue Boars met Scone was last year’s minor
The Blue Boars got the win but had to work hard for it, with the Brumbies in front at half-time.
They’re not expecting anything different today.
“Very physical, very dogged, very strong set piece and a great kicking game,” Blue Boars co-coach Hunter Harley said.
They use their forward runners around the corner to good effect and use their kicking game to chew off territory and put the pressure on their opposition.
Harley is subsequently expecting a lot of kicking traffic to come their way.
“Our back three have got to be on song,” he said.
“They’ve got to communicate and take the right options in counter.”
“We’ve also got to make our first-up tackles on their big fellas.”
They are wary of getting caught playing too narrow.
“We don’t want to be playing to their strengths,” Harley said.
That means not one-off runners into the tight.
Not that they’ve been doing that the last couple of weeks.
They’ve been playing an expansive style and racking up the points.
“I’m looking for us to continue what we’ve been doing,” Harley said.
“We’ve been working on supporting the ball carrier and going forward at the line in numbers.”
They have had to do some last-minute reshuffling, with prop Sam Greenaway not recovering from the injury he sustained against Barraba.
Harley and Tom Cullen were looking to finally give Henry Curtin a run in the second row – where they would like to see him – but he will in all likelihood end up in the front row.
“He’s the logical choice,” Harley said.
The Brumbies too are missing a few. They’ve got four or five of the side that beat Inverell last week tied up with horse sales.
They aren’t expecting the Blue Boars to play much differently to what they did last year.
“They’ve still got blokes in key positions,” co-coach Duncan Pinfold said.
Like Matt Schwager at half-back, who Pinfold said really directs the play for them.
“All their play starts with him as far as their attack,” he said.
They’re also very good at the breakdown.
“If you’re half a second too slow to secure the pill it’s gone,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure we secure our ball.”
He said on paper the Blue Boars have the stronger side, but the Brumbies know what they’ve got to do.
“We’ve got a game plan structured around how they play,” Pinfold said.
“We want to try to disrupt their defensive patterns and keep the pill away from their strengths.”
It really comes down to them turning up with the right attitude and staying switched on for the 80 minutes.
They’ve also identified they need to start well.
“It’s a matter of getting on top early and staying dominant,” Pinfold said.
“That’s our only chance.”
If they give the Blue Boars the first quarter it will be a long way back.