Scone can't afford a stumble against Walcha

TOMORROW is shaping as make or break for Scone.

The Brumbies are walking the top five tightrope and, with Moree and Pirates to come in the last two games, can’t afford not to pick up the points against Walcha.

“It’s a must-win game,” co-coach Duncan Pinfold said.

They have Inverell breathing down their necks and only a bonus point win behind.

The Brumbies were terrible against Gunnedah last week but  Pinfold said they had deleted that from their memories.

He expects them to be a lot better tomorrow. They will at least be in better shape.

“We’ve got a few back,” he said.

One of the big ins is number eight Murray Wilkinson.

He’s been their best player this season and they badly missed his work rate.

Michael Ruthven and William Wardlaw also come into the backline.

Wardlaw announced his arrival with two tries against Tamworth the other week but then missed last week through injury.

They’ve also looked to strengthen the back three and have moved Dale Robinson back to fullback to inject a bit of experience.

“We haven’t had a back three that has been able to defend on wide ball,” Pinfold said.

“Gunnedah sailed around us easily.”

“Most teams have found it easier to get around us than through us.”

History has taught them that’s where the Rams will be looking to attack them.

“In the past, Walcha has been good at getting it wide and quickly,” he said.

He  sees no reason they won’t do that again. 

The Rams are chasing a third successive win but have had some significant changes since last week.

They’ve lost coach Andrew Jack as well as Fred Kei and half-back Dougall Elliott.

Kei, particularly, will leave some big shoes to fill.

“He’s a void we need to fill,” president Jock Fletcher said.

He was regularly among their best.

Losing Jack is a big setback too and, for now, the players are looking after the coaching with a bit of assistance from the likes of former coach Andrew Crawford.

He’s taken a bit of a care-taker fitness role.

It’s not ideal timing as they were just starting to gel but Fletcher said there was plenty of experience there.

The focus for tomorrow will be the breakdown.

“We need to restructure the breakdown,” Fletcher said.

“Focus is on retaining and recycling the ball.

“We’re not competitive at the breakdown.”

Last week, Barraba was able to secure their ball too easily.

Fletcher said they’re either committing too many to the breakdown or only one or two and aren’t being effective.

In other games tomorrow, Quirindi hosts Pirates, Moree heads to Barraba, Gunnedah tackles Narrabri and Tamworth meets Inverell.


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