Walcha gunning for Narrabri with eye on top five

WALCHA isn’t shutting the door on the top five just yet and, after upsetting Scone last week, has its sights set on Narrabri.

The Rams host the competition leaders today in what is a must-win if they’re going to be a chance of pushing into the top five.

They are still holding out hope of making the five and, despite sitting down in seventh, aren’t that far off.

There’s only three points between them and the five. 

But with other games they need to get the points today to stay in the race.

They are chasing their fourth successive win and  prop Sam Martin said they were pretty confident they’ve got it in them to roll the Blue Boars.

He said they won’t be looking to stray far from what they’ve been doing and what has been working for them.

“We’ll keep it simple and do what we’ve been doing,” Martin said.

It’s a pretty simple game plan but it’s been effective.

That said, it’s going to take a big effort. The Blue Boars have seen off every challenger so far. 

“We’ve just got to really muscle up and really spread quickly in defence,” Martin said.

“If we defend well, our attack will take care of itself.”

A lot will rest on their defence.

“The big thing against those guys is they’ve got a lot of ball runners and options,” he said.

“If you don’t make your one on one tackles, they’ll punish you.”

One area they probably need to pick up is at the breakdown.

“We really have to be  a bit better at the breakdown,” Martin said.

“They’ve got some really good blokes on the ball.”

The Blue Boars are wary.

“We’ve noted they’ve notched up three wins in a row,” co-coach Tom Cullen said.

“They’ll definitely be a challenge.”

They have had to reshuffle things a bit, with fullback Brenton Cochrane unavailable. 

Michael Cain on the burst for Narrabri against Tamworth recently. He’s been named to start at fullback today, moving back from the wing. Photo: Barry Smith 170514BSI04

Michael Cain on the burst for Narrabri against Tamworth recently. He’s been named to start at fullback today, moving back from the wing. Photo: Barry Smith 170514BSI04

Michael Cain will shift back there, with Brendan Greste taking his place on the wing.

The Rams have one of the most dangerous backlines in the competition and the Blue Boars see that as being where the threat is.

“We’re pretty aware of their backline –they’ve had a couple of guys come back,” Cullen said.

“And Simon Newton is always dangerous.”

“We’ve got to keep it away from their backs.”

They’re mindful of giving them too much space.

Last week against Gunnedah they were exceptional in defence and they’ll be looking for a repeat effort today, albeit hoping not to be called on to do as much defending as they had to do.

The breakdown too will also again be a focus.

“Our pressure at the breakdown was our biggest issue,” Cullen said.

“Against Gunnedah we managed to stamp that out. 

“We’ll want to repeat that.”

 With only one grade the game will kick off earlier at 2.30pm.

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