A top of the table clash awaits the Gunnedah Bulldogs this week as they prepare to take on the Inverell Saints.
Both sides are entering the clash with six wins to their name with the Dogs claiming a 52-point victory last time the two sides met in Gunnedah.
Bulldogs coach Andrew George told The Namoi Valley Independent the game would have finals ramifications for his side.
“Having a look at our draw for the rest of the season I think it is fair to say that if we lose this game our chances of finishing the season on top will be gone,” he said.
“So we are working really hard at training this week and we are doing what we can to be ready for Inverell this week.”
The first year coach said having a full side available for this weekend’s clash would be pivotal to the side’s chances of victory.
“On our last road trip up to Armidale we were only able to take 17 players up there and that really hurt us,” he said. “So having a full side available would be ideal as that was what really let us down last time.”
George said the recent performances of the side’s younger brigade at representative level would hold them in good stead ahead of the clash with the Saints.
“Our younger guys like Hayden Baker and Tom Maher played really well in the rep team on the weekend,” he said.
“They bring so much to our side and they were missing from the team on our last road trip and they were sorely missed.
“They are gaining confidence every week and last weekend’s rep game should have helped continue that.”
George said “a disciplined effort” would be required to beat the Saints on their home turf.
“They are always a strong side at home,” he said.
“I know when we were able to knock them off earlier this year, we played a really disciplined game and I think for us to get over the line on Saturday we will have to be even more disciplined.
“Inverell always play a pretty physical style of footy so it’s even more important for us to stay disciplined and focus on our basic fundamental skills that we have been working on at training.
“I reckon if we can do that we will go a long way towards winning Saturday’s game.”
Inverell’s Varley Oval will play host to the game from 2pm on Saturday.