GUNNEDAH Bulldogs welcomed the general bye more than most sides as they prepare for their final Group 4 trip to Wee Waa tomorrow.
The Shane Rampling-coached side have suffered from an extensive injury list, but appear to have many of those injured players returning at the right time of year.
At least five regular first graders will make their return at Captain Cook Oval tomorrow.
Sitting in clear second, the Bulldogs are focussed on keeping it that way for the rest of the season.
Coach Shane Rampling insists the side must win the next three games if they are any chance of beating Norths in the finals and in the final round at home.
Aaron Donnelly will come back into the side after a month on the sideline with an ankle injury and hopes to get back into his try -scoring form straight away.
DJ Smith returned to reserves last week and passed with flying colours after also spending a long time out with an ankle fracture.
“DJ was good last week and will come off the bench,” Rampling said.
“It is a good side when DJ Smith is in it.”
Tyler Flemming will run back on into the halves, while Dylan Rampling and prop Andrew Seech will also return.
“Three games straight guarantees us a home final or semi and a second chance,” Rampling said.
“It is also important to be on a roll when we take Norths on in the last round.”
The coach said the Bears were beatable if you take the game to them early. “They haven’t played our best side yet,” Rampling said.
“We’ll jump all over them early and try to get on top.”
The Bulldogs will play away at Narranri again next weekend before finishing with two home games against the Tamworth sides, the premiers and the undefeated soon to be minor premiers.
“It’s a big finish,” Rampling said.
“The last time we played Wee Waa we found a bit of room in behind their ruck.”
“They are improving but these are the games we need to win if we are any chance in the finals.”
Round 12 of the Group 4 competition kicks off with unbeaten North Tamworth playing winless Oxley Diggers at Scully Park today. While Gunnedah go to Wee Waa tomorrow Narrabri Blues also host West Lions in the other Sunday game.