NARRABRI captain Sean Russ reckons tomorrow’s Group 4 final against West Lions is his club’s best chance to finally reach a grand final.
In the past two years the Blues have made the playoffs without reaching the big one.
But the signs are good this time.
“I think this is our best crack at it over the last few years,” Russ said.
“Our preparation has been better this year.
“We’ve probably got an improved roster as well.”
The Blues were on top of their game two weeks ago against Wee Waa and would love to reproduce that form tomorrow at Scully Park.
They have also given West a scare twice this year only to lose in the dying minutes, once in golden point and once after leading by eight with only a few minutes to go.
“We’re looking pretty good at the moment,” Russ said.
“We seem to lift when we play Wests.
“We’re probably the fittest we’ve been and we’re getting blokes back on the paddock who have been missing.
“Hopefully we take some good form into this weekend.
“Everyone’s confident and we’re pretty happy at the moment.”
One of the players getting back on the park this week is young representative backrower Jake Rumsby.
He missed the minor semi and the last regular season game with injury but is just the kind of addition that will lift the Blues against West.
“He’ll go well,” Russ said.
“He’s been itching to get back.”
The Blues have a handy forward pack and they hope to use that to their advantage.
If they can help stop the Lions’ big men like Chris Vidler and Scott Rolls from getting on a roll it will limit the opportunities for playmakers like Brendan Hunt and Matt Nean.
“We have to slow their play-the-ball down and get up on their bigger fellas, try to stop their go forward,” Russ said.
“That’s what they play off the back of.
“They get the go forward and the backs flourish off that.”
It’s a big day for the Narrabri club, with three teams in action.
The under 18s and under 16s are also trying to make it to grand final day.
In addition to Russ skippering the first grade side, he and fellow first grader Owen Palmer also coach the Blues’ under 16s, who face Farrer tomorrow.