Tamworth rejigs for battle with Barraba

TAMWORTH will be on the rebound against Barraba at Tamworth Rugby Park today as it again looks to put a disappointing loss to Walcha behind it.

But they have had to reshuffle the decks a bit, with standout last week, Mitch Wheaton, one of several players missing.

Outside centre Pat Strong and half-back Nick Humphries are also unavailable.

On the plus side, they do get captain and number eight Rhys Duncan and Sam Burges back.

“Having Rhys and Burgo back into the forward pack will be good,” Magpies co-coach Ross Duncan said.

The skipper, particularly, is a big inclusion.

“He helps us control the forward play quite well and defensively is quite strong,” co-coach Tony Mills added.

The home side is coming off its second narrow loss to Walcha in as many games after going down by six, and will be looking for a more consistent performance.

“The key focus needs to be on following the game plan we’ve had for the last month,” Mills said.

They were guilty of coming and going from their game plan and structure.

Mills also spoke about improving their execution in terms of the contest.

“We have been a bit guilty of our body height being too high,” he said.

That will be important to get right against the Rams.

“Last time we played Barraba, the ruck contest was quite messy,” Mills said.

“We’ve worked on tidying up the ruck area.”

It is on paper a game they should win but they know they can’t take that for granted.

“Barraba can show up on any day and really play strong rugby,” Duncan said.

“We could well and truly be beaten by Barraba if we’re not on our game.” 

They were fairly unconvincing last time against them.

There was only seven points in it and it was only an intercept try that was the difference.

The loss was one of several close calls for the Rams in the first round.

They’ve had a few wayward results since but showed what they are capable of against Quirindi last week.

“The backs fired,” Rams forward Jack McCarthy said.

“They played very well, probably played their best game for the season.”

They’ll be hoping for more of the same today.

In the other tier two game, Quirindi is at home to Scone.

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