Magpies to keep close eye on sleight of hand

STUNG twice after having victory in its grasp, Tamworth will be out to get one back on Walcha when they match-up at Tamworth Rugby Park today.

Tamworth's Nick Humphries (legs) and Tom Chaffey try to bring down Walcha's Will Fletcher when they met in Tamworth earlier in the season. The two match up again today. Photo: Barry Smith 070614BSF21

Tamworth's Nick Humphries (legs) and Tom Chaffey try to bring down Walcha's Will Fletcher when they met in Tamworth earlier in the season. The two match up again today. Photo: Barry Smith 070614BSF21

The Rams have in both fixtures grabbed the points with late tries.

The game doesn’t mean a lot as far as the table, but does to the home side.

“They’ve had two close victories over us the last two games.

“We’re very keen to turn the tables,” Magpies co-coach Ross Duncan said.

Especially given they could potentially meet them in the finals.

“One lapse has cost us both games,” Duncan said.

That’s pretty much what it’s come down to with Simon Newton dummying and ghosting through in both instances to orchestrate those late tries.

The first game he offloaded to Eddie Churchill to score, the second he found Richard Young in support.

It compounded the disappointment for the Magpies after their earlier three-point loss, but again showed them they are “right on the money”.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re communicating in defence and making our one-on-one tackles and not falling for that sleight of hand,” Duncan said.

One of the keys to success will be shutting down the Rams backline.

They have done that reasonably well in both games, but as has been proven it will take an 80 minute effort.

“They’ve got a very good backline and are very capable of turning it on and cutting sides to pieces,” Duncan said.

As they’ve done on numerous occasions.

Duncan said if they can remove the damage the backline does that will leave it to the forwards to fight it out.

The Magpies feel they might be able to get a bit of an edge there.

Their forwards have been a real shining light this season and have won them more games than they’ve lost them.

With one eye on the finals they have made a couple of positional changes, shifting Bryce Daniels into 10 and Patrick Strong back to fullback.

“Hopefully that gives us a bit more venom in attack and gives us the opportunity to go wider,” Duncan said.

In the other tier 2 game Barraba will be looking to continue their run when they travel to Quirindi.

* Due to the cocktail lunch with Ben Tune at 1.30pm, first grade will kick off at the later time of 3.45pm.

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