Barraba coach Jesse Phillips’ excitement at overseeing a promising Bulldogs season was tempered slightly by an unwelcome intruder – excruciating pain.
Phillips’ playing season with the Bulldogs came to a distressing end when he recently tore his bicep off the bone in a workplace accident.
The self-employed concrete fencer, who had mainly played lock this season, will watch from the sidelines as the third-placed Barraba attempt to become only the second team this year to defeat Kootingal-Moonbi when the sides meet in Kootingal on Saturday.
While the Roosters have not lost since an epic 22-16 home defeat to Bundarra in round six and straddle the ladder with a six-point lead over Barraba and Bendemeer, the Bulldogs have also gained momentum with back-to-back wins and will be refreshed for Saturday’s clash after having the bye last round.
“It would be great for us to get a bit closer to them (Kooty),” Phillips said, adding: “We’ve been playing pretty good footy at the moment. We’re not thinking about finals football yet, that’s for sure. We’ll go through the motions and see how we’re situated in the next three or four weeks.”
Phillips said the next month would decide “where we’re going to be” in a “very close competition”. He agreed that the Roosters are the competition’s benchmark.
In other Second Division matches on Saturday, Walcha host Bendemeer, Bingara travel to Boggabri and Werris Creek welcomes the Cowboys. On Sunday, Bundarra host Manilla.