Gunnedah plans to be up-front with Narrabri

GUNNEDAH is planning to attack Narrabri up front when it hosts the competition leaders today in the match-up of the round.

The Red Devils have been racking up some impressive results in recent weeks and showing some real muscle in the scrums.

Last week they hammered Scone there, and will be looking to that as an avenue to get on top of the Blue Boars.

“We’ll have a crack in the scrum,” co-coach Tim Walsh said. 

“Try to use the scrum to get a bit of dominance.”

That said, he expects the Blue Boars to be a much tougher proposition in the scrums, and generally.

“It’ll give us a good answer for whether we’ve improved since Pirates,” Walsh said.

Results would say they have but they haven’t been playing sides the calibre of the Blue Boars.

Walsh is confident they can upset them but they will need to reduce their mistake rate.

“By full-time last week we’d made 24 errors,” he said.

Last week they were able to win the ball back via their scrum when they knocked on but they can’t rely on that and don’t want to be giving up ball to the Blue Boars anyway.

“We don’t want to give them more than 50 per cent of the ball,” he said.

That was one of the lessons they took from Pirates – that they have to be able to hold the ball for longer periods.

“If we can hold it for five phases we become a lot more competitive,” Walsh said.

“The other thing is to not kick it to (Brenton) Cochrane.”

The Blue Boars, too, are looking to today as a good test and gauge.

“This is our biggest challenge since we faced Pirates,” co-coach Tom Cullen said.

“The boys are really keen for this one.”

They’ll have a bit of sombre extra motivation, with president Jack Findley’s father Neil passing away during the week.

“He was a huge member of the club,” Cullen said.

He’s expecting the Red Devils to play similarly to them – ball in hand and really look for quick ball.

“We need to slow them down,” Cullen said.

And not let them get a roll- on through their forwards. 

From what he’s read, that’s where they pose the biggest threat.

“One thing we’ve been trying to work on the last couple of weeks is being a bit more dominant in the forwards, especially at the breakdown,” Cullen said.

They did it for a half against Tamworth last week and it enabled them to play their style of footy and bring their backs into it.

“We’ve got a lot of ball runners in our forward pack but blokes have got to get their hands dirty,” Cullen said.

They’ve been a bit guilty at times of waiting for a run rather than getting in and securing the ball.

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