Armidale itching to get on paddock after two byes

ARMIDALE will hit the re-start button on its New England campaign at Guyra  tomorrow.

The Blues have had the bye the last two weeks and are raring to get back into it.

“The boys are pretty keen,” co-coach Alan Jones said.

He said it’s almost like they’re starting over again but they still won’t be quite at full strength. 

Despite the break, they’ve still got a few players carrying niggling injuries and they don’t want to at this stage risk possibly turning them into something serious.

Jones said they had done a lot of fitness work over the break.

“We’ve gone pretty hard on the guys that have turned up,” he said.

As much to improve their fitness as give them some match-type conditioning.

Last night they were getting more down to the nitty gritty.

They’ve utilised the break to try to work on a couple of combinations – most notably their nine, 10 and 12, and the backrow, and focus on how they’re going to play for the rest of the season.

The Blues have only dropped one of their four games but there’s still plenty to work on.

One of things they’re keen to address is how they exit their 22, and what they do inside their attacking 22.

“We’ve focused on the two vital parts of the field,” Jones said.

Setting up the kickers so they’re under less pressure trying to clear from their 22, and their decision-making when they’re on the attack in their own 22.

Jones made the trip up to Guyra last week to get an idea of what they’ll be up against.

“They’ll be a challenge,” Jones said.

“They’ve got size across the park and a good six and seven.”

He’s expecting a physical match and pinpointed the breakdown as being the crucial area.

“Whoever wins at the breakdown will end up with more points on the board,” he said.

They can be better there  and need to focus on what they do at the breakdown and how they approach the breakdown as an attacking side, Jones said.

In the other game, Robb tackles Barbarians and. with a win, can take outright ownership of the competition lead with St Albert’s having the bye.

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