ARMIDALE’S Rugby League Park is set to explode today when the Boomerangs clash with the Rams in one of the most anticipated games of the season so far.
The Rams are the only side to have defeated the Boomerangs this year and, with a home ground advantage, president Terry Carson thinks they can do it again.
Both sides are going into the clash near full-strength, with no love lost between the two and a very important two points up for grabs.
Carson said that was exactly why the Rams love playing the Boomerangs.
He has no doubt that the Rams pack will finish on top of the Rangs.
“That is how we won last time and then scored on the edges,” Carson said.
“We just have to give those players the ball when we want.”
The last time the two sides clashed, the Rams jumped out to a second-half lead with four tries and then held on as the Rangs scored five but missed four kicks to go down by two points 28-26.
“I am sure they will be out to repay the favour,” Carson said.
Last game the Rams scored down the edges.
“You will always score tries against the Rangs,” he said.
“We just have to control the ball.”
Big forward Apakuki Mate will again lead the forward charge while coach and halfback Clarry Moran and five-eighth Fred Waters will be at the controls of a dangerous backline.
One player the Rams will need to watch is powerful forward Mundarrah Weldon.
Weldon is returning from four weeks on the sideline and will be champing at the bit to get back in the thick of it.
Rangs coach Chris Binge believes that the side is in better shape than the premiership-winning side was last year as it goes into the game at near full strength.
“Overall we are more comfortable with our combinations,” Binge said.
“We will need to be at our best to get points this weekend.”
Both sides’ packs are some of the most dangerous in the group.
Where the Rams use size, the Rangs use mobility, and that battle will be very telling tomorrow.
“We will test them early in the middle and see if we can penetrate,” Binge said.
The Rangs have been watching video footage of themselves this week in order to “fine tune their game”.
“We are going to be very structured and calm and complete our sets,” Binge said.
The Rangs have got a new catch cry for the remainder of the season, as they sit four points ahead of the pack, but have played one more game.
“Don’t be comfortable,” is the cry.
“Essentially we have a two- point buffer so all we say at training is ‘don’t be comfortable’,” Binge said.
While the Rangs are away, Moree will play Goondiwindi in the battle of the Boars.
The two newest sides to join the group will go head to head with the two points almost a make or break for sixth-placed Goondiwindi.
The battle of the Boars will be played in Moree and the two points from a victory could boost Moree into third if Inverell goes down.
The Hawks will be on the road in Tingha today following a 26-26 draw against Armidale last week and a 50-32 effort against the Rangs the week before.
The other game will see Uralla host second-placed Glen Innes Magpies.
The Magpies are three points clear of Inverell and four points behind the Rangs but also have a game against Moree up their sleeve from the referees’ strike.
The Uralla Tigers, on the other hand, are looking to take pot- shots at the top teams for the rest of their first season back in the grade.