SCONE Thoroughbreds are prepared for one of their toughest games of the season when the unbeaten competition leaders match up against Muswellbrook Rams at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook tomorrow.
The Thoroughbreds have been in outstanding form so far, notching wins over Muswellbrook, Aberdeen, Singleton, Denman and Greta Branxton in the first five rounds and they present the Rams – who are coming off a big win at Singleton last Sunday – with a massive challenge.
“It’s a big game for us,” Rams captain-coach Josh Pearsol said.
“They are the benchmark.
“We’re at home and only lost to them in the first round.”
The Rams will be missing talented Marcus Bower (knee) and Cade Boney (suspended).
Cade’s absence is unfortunate.
“His wife is having a baby,” Pearsol said.
“It’s the same day as the Greater Northern Championships in Tamworth.
“He can’t leave town but he’s suspended because of it.
“It means we have a bit of reshuffle but we’ll still be strong and coming off a good win.
“The boys are starting to realise we’ve got the side to beat anyone.
“It’s going to be a good test against them.”
Scone is also missing a suspended player – Matt Finlayson – for the game.
“He’s got a mate’s wedding to go to,” Scone captain-coach Daniel Ritter explained.
It’s unfortunate but Ritter thinks he has some good depth to cover Finlayson’s suspension against a side he knows will take some beating.
“They’ll be tough at home for sure,” he said.
“They’re coming off a good win at Singleton.
“They put 50 on the Greyhounds down there. That’s pretty good down there.
“They’re obviously playing well and have some good young kids coming through. They won the Under 18s last year.”
He said Boney’s suspension was a help but reckons his brother, Daley Boney, will take some watching on the edges.
“He’s a good runner and good defender,” he said of the backrower.
Finlayson’s suspension after being selected in the Group 21 side but having a mate’s wedding to attend is unfortunate.
“Matt’s been a good addition for us this year too,” he said.
“But we have good depth.”
He’s also looking forward to the Greater Northern Championships in Tamworth and wonders if Country fullback Tim Smith is eligible to play for Country again if he’s only playing in the Tier 2 section of the Country Championships with Greater Northern.
In other G21 matches this weekend, Greta Branxton plays Aberdeen at Greta Oval tonight (6pm kickoff) and Singleton hosts Denman tomorrow (2.15pm kickoff).