Central North Rugby: Scone pumped to host first final in a decade

Fresh challenge: Scone skipper Toby Twigg will be one of the keys for the Brumbies against Gunnedah.
Fresh challenge: Scone skipper Toby Twigg will be one of the keys for the Brumbies against Gunnedah.

The bitter taste of defeat will be one of several factors spurring Scone on when they host Gunnedah in the second elimination final on Sunday.

The two met only two weeks ago with the Red Devils outclassing the Brumbies 46-26 to end what was a disappointing second round for the Scone side.

After pushing Pirates in the first game, they were well-beaten their next three.

But refreshed after the bye, and with the return of some big guns, Brumbies co-coach Ben McRae is optimistic they can recapture the form that saw them earn a spot in the top tier for the first time.

It has been a season of firsts for the club with Sunday the first time they have hosted a Central North final.

“It’s pretty exciting,” McRae said.

“The last time we hosted a final was Robb in 2007.”

McRae said they know they have got a challenge ahead of them and hardly surprisingly said they have got to be a lot better than they were two weeks ago.

He highlighted the breakdown as one of the areas they need to improve.

“We probably need our backrow to stand up. The backrow wasn’t on their game,” McRae said.

“We need to be a lot harder at the breakdown and a lot more competitive.”

The other area the desperately need to fix is their defence, but McRae is confident they can “patch up that”.

They have done a lot of work on their defence. The return of Tim Maddocks at inside centre will also strengthen up the midfield, which is where the Red Devils tore them apart. McRae said they have also polished up on their small percentage areas like their exit plays.

The Red Devils go in with pretty much the same side that took the field two weeks ago and armed with the confidence that they’ve got the game to beat the Brumbies. That last game proved that.

“We found out where we should play against Scone,” coach Jason Waerea said.

He added that the attitude at the club at the moment is very positive, with the players committed to what they’ve sorted out is their game plan and pretty comfortable with it. It is possibly a more conservative plan than when they started the season but has been working well.