GUNNEDAH isn’t entertaining thoughts of an easy trip to Tamworth today, and why would they.
The table would dictate it should be but Tamworth hasn’t been that happy a hunting ground for the Red Devils with the Magpies winning the corresponding encounter last year 42-20.
Sure, their side is a lot different to then but the Red Devils know if they don’t play well they won’t get the result they want.
“We’re not taking things for granted,” coach Paul Brady said.
There’s a lot to gain for them outside of the points.
“Everyone’s pretty excited about tomorrow to see if we can maintain the same standards and I think for the first time in a long time we’ll be three from three to start the season,” Brady said.
Last year they started reasonably well.
They pushed Pirates, then beat Inverell and narrowly went down to Narrabri.
But from there things fell away.
This year, one of their main goals is consistency.
It could be the difference between making the finals or not.
Certainly beating sides like the Blue Boars will help but there’s still plenty of things to fix up.
Their lineout last week didn’t function quite as well as they would have liked.
The throwing and timing were probably both off a bit.
“And our kicking game in general play wasn’t as smart as it could have been,” Brady said.
Especially their kicking for the line.
“We were a bit rushed and probably a bit greedy in the distance we went for,” Brady said.
He was one of several missing last week.
Most are back today and will make for a different-looking backline.
Joe Norman retains his spot though at five-eighth with first-week pivot Pete Henderson coming back in at inside centre.
“Joe didn’t do too much wrong considering he’s 18 and that was his first first grade game,” Brady said.
The Magpies, in contrast, are still striving to find their attacking mojo and have moved half-back Nick Humphries to 10.
They are expecting it to be very tough.
“Obviously we’re still going to be a long way short of our best side,” Magpies co-coach Joe Goldsworthy said.
In other games, Barraba will be looking to turn a couple of close losses into a win when it travels to Narrabri, while Pirates are headed to Scone.