Norths ‘bear’ down on cup

A SECOND Clayton Cup beckons for North Tamworth as they face one more hurdle on their way to an undefeated minor premiership and a chance at the cup, awarded to NSW country rugby league’s most dominant side.

North Tamworth last won the Clayton Cup in 1951, but are on track to put it back in the cabinet as they look to prove a point in Gunnedah tomorrow.

The two sides will clash tomorrow and then both have a week off before playing again at Jack Woolaston in the major semi. 

Coach Brad McManus is keen to leave an impression on the Bulldogs and group at Kitchener Park.

“We are going to rip in and give it to them,” McManus said.

“Hopefullly send out a message that we are not mucking around.”

Centre Brad Marshall’s return brings the playing group back to full strength, while Gunnedah’s season-long injury battle continues.

Coach McManus said that the side can’t wait to get to Gunnedah after a lean month on the park.

A forfeit, a game stopped early and a round bye hampered the Bears preparation, although a 50-20 point victory at Narrabri last week helped blow out some cobwebs.

“It was a good hit out last week and now the boys are ready to go,” McManus said.

“There is a good feeling around the joint at the moment.”

The Bears strength comes from McManus’s mantra of getting the basics right.

“Our forwards have been going forward well and laying a platform,” McManus said.

“When they go forward the backs do their thing.”

Norths have cruised through the season racking up 865 points along the way in just 13 games.

However, Gunnedah coach Shane Rampling believes they are beatable and is going in with a plan.

“You have to get up in their faces early and stick with them on the scoreboard,” Rampling said.

“I think if we can go into half time within a try or in front they won’t know what to do.”