A RE-ENERGISED Tamworth will be chasing rare back to back wins and could double its efforts of last season when it hosts Barraba today.
The Magpies registered their first points for the season last week and in convincing fashion, and are hungry for more.
“It was a really good win last week but unless we back it up this week it doesn’t mean anything,” co-coach Ross Duncan said.
Their cause hasn’t been helped by unavailabilities.
They’ve lost Al Doyle and Mitch Wheaton overseas – Wheaton fortunately thought for only about a month.
Compounding that, Sam Burges injured his knee towards the end of training on Thursday night and isn’t expected to play today.
It will test their forward depth.
“It’d be nice to keep the boys on the paddock and get the cohesion we want,” Duncan said.
It’s not all gloom on the injury front. They do have Michael Zucker returning from injury.
He’ll start in the second row. It’s not his preferred position, Duncan said – he’s normally a six – but, with the shortage of second-rowers, they’ve moved him there.
With a lot of new players this season they are still working out positions and best combinations, especially in the backline.
Duncan said last week was a big step forward in that regard.
One thing he spoke about is almost playing within themselves early.
“We’ve got to learn not to overplay our hand too early,” he said.
“We’re tending to play too much football too early in the match.”
That’s meant they’re limiting their opportunities to attack with the opposition, expecting their attack from the start.
“We need to do the early work and put pressure on them through territory and possession,” Duncan said.
Then they can attack.
But they need to build that pressure first.
“We got caught the first two weeks playing too much football in our 30-40m line,” he said.
Last week they were able to do that to the Lions.
The Rams will be a good test. They had put in some competitive showings before encountering a red-hot Narrabri outfit last week.
They’ll be looking to bounce back from that, as will Gunnedah when it hosts Quirindi.
The Red Devils were outplayed by Pirates last week.
Pirates are today headed to Walcha.