AFTER suffering its first defeat for the season, Narrabri is looking to slip back into the winning groove at Inverell today.
The Blue Boars are refreshed after having the week off and are keen to rebound from their last-game hiccup against Pirates.
“They’ve freshened up and are ready for the hard slog,” Blue Boars coach Hunter Harley said.
It is an important game for them in the context of the battle for the top two.
“A win here can consolidate the top two,” Harley said.
“Moree have opened the door.”
“We’re not underestimating the importance of the game.”
Nor are they the Highlanders.
They know there is no room for complacency.
Gunnedah’s win over Moree last week highlighted that, not that they would be.
“Inverell always play well against us,” he said.
It wasn’t so much the actual loss to Pirates that was disappointing for the Blue Boars – although it was – it was the manner of it.
It certainly gave them some things to think about over the break.
“We’ve got to maintain our structure when games are tight,” Harley said.
“They are our framework to go back to.”
It was lacking a bit against Pirates.
They also had a few issues at the breakdown and Harley said that they have to get over the man a lot quicker.
Pirates also employed an up-tempo style, taking a lot of quick taps and the like, and were able to sting them quite a few times off broken play.
“We have to be more diligent in reacting,” Harley said.
Today will be a good challenge in that regard.
The Highlanders have shown a propensity for throwing the ball around and trying to play a quick game.
“We’re drawing a lot out of this game in the fact that we think Inverell play a similar style to Pirates,” he said.
Possibly not quite as structured but they play with a similar flair.
“It’ll show what we learnt the other week,” Harley said.
The corresponding game in the first round was one of the Highlanders’ best performances of the first round.
They really got in there and had a go.
They are also coming off a last-game loss to Pirates and will be hoping for a much better showing after being thrashed by 40.
After playing in the forwards the last few weeks and doing a great job there, captain Chad Makim is set to move back out to his more customary role in the centres with Siaki Maea serving a week’s suspension after picking up two yellow cards last week.