ARMIDALE will be looking to pick up where it left off last week when it heads to Inverell on Sunday.
The Rams produced their best 40 minutes of football for the season in the second half against Goondiwindi to dismantle the Boars 54-20.
They’ll be looking for more of the same against the Hawks as they try to cement their spot in the top four.
They sit fourth at the moment but only a point behind the Hawks and a point ahead of Moree Boars and could, depending on results, either go to third or drop back to fifth.
“It’s a very important match in terms of the table,” Rams president Terry Carson said.
“It’s between us and a couple of other sides for spots in the final.”
Adding more urgency is the fact that they’ve got competition leaders Moree Boomerangs next week.
Carson said the second half against the Boars was probably the best half of football they’ve put together.
“We completed our sets and defensively we were pretty solid,” he said.
“We’ve got to keep on building on that.”
They got the points last time against the Hawks but are expecting them to be a much tougher prospect on Sunday.
“They’ve got a lot of new players since then,” Carson said.
“They’re a bit of an unknown.”
What they do know is they will be good around the ruck.
“Any side coached by Pete Stevens is great in the ruck,” he said.
“If we can win the forward battle and win the ruck we should be able to get points.”
He feels they have a bit more in the backs than the Hawks do.
Discipline will also be a big factor.
“When we do better with our discipline it goes a long way to winning,” Carson said.
The Hawks will be looking to start better than they did against the Boomerangs last week.
“They belted us in the first half, led 32-6,” Stevens said.
“They were dominant and we were pretty poor.
“We threw three intercepts and they scored from two of them, racing 90m.
“Our edge defence was poor too.
“There’s still a big gap between us – we’ve got some work to do.
“But we can compete against them.
“We’ve closed the distance between us and them from earlier this year – and to our credit the boys didn’t throw the towel in.
“We came back at them in the second half.
“The boys had a good dig,” Stevens said.
In the other games this weekend, Glen Innes hosts Ashford and Tingha tackles Goondiwindi tomorrow, while in the other Sunday game, Moree Boars take on Uralla in Moree.
Meanwhile in Group 21, competition leader Scone clashes with bottom-placed Aberdeen, Greta Branxton plays Singleton and Muswellbrook hosts Denman.