Scone wary of Magpie attack

SCONE will rightly have its wits about it when it tackles Tamworth in Scone today.

Last time the two sides met, the Magpies stormed home in the second half to almost snatch victory. 

The Brumbies haven’t forgotten that.

It was effectively the beginning of the end for them as far as their top tier hopes. They lost their next four.

The most recent of those was against Pirates last weekend  but there were some signs in there that things might be turning around.

“I thought we came a long way from the Moree game,” co-coach Ben McRae said. “We played 65 minutes and just had a 15-minute lapse where we let them get away with it.”

He said they needed to bring the same attitude today as they had in the second half last week, especially in defence.

“We’ve worked this week on being more patient in the attacking zone,” McRae said.

“We want to build more pressure.”

It’s something they’ve been plugging away at for the last month.

He’d also like to see them utilise their speed in the backs more and create more opportunities for the backs.

That was where they hurt the Magpies last time. 

Centre William Wardlaw was one of the main protagonists and finished with a double.

He had some great touches against Pirates last week and will pair up with Dale Robinson in the centres today for the first time since that last game against the Magpies.

They are starting to get players back. 

One of the brightest aspects for them last week was the scrum. McRae felt they had the dominant scrum and will be looking to assert some dominance there today.

Meanwhile the Rams’ bragging rights will go on the line again when Barraba and Walcha clash  at Barraba.

Walcha won the earlier encounter but knows it is in for a tough day at the office today.

“Barraba are very tough at home,” Walcha skipper Simon Newton said.

You never know what they’re going to throw at you.

The win over Barraba came in the midst of a three-game run that was only halted by a 3-nil loss to then competition leaders Narrabri.

It took a bit of magic from inside centre Ed Churchill in the last 10 minutes to get over Tamworth last week but they were missing a number of players.

All but Peter Young, who injured his arm against Scone, will be back today.

Newton said they’ve spoken about needing to match the Rams in defence, and trying to move them around the paddock.

“We’ve got to be critical at the breakdown and secure our ball and pick up our intensity around the park,” he said.

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