Narrabri’s backline has proven one of the most potent in the competition, and been one of the catalysts of the Blue Boars’ success this season, but it is the warriors in the pack that could play the most decisive role in Saturday’s minor semi-final against Walcha.
Blue Boars coach Dylan Duncan believes it will be the battle up front that decides who prevails and keeps their season alive.
“Whoever can control the middle of the field will win,” Duncan said.
“Every game of football, it doesn’t matter how good your backs are if the forwards don’t set the platform.”
He spoke about their set piece holding up well to Walcha’s as it has done “to the other teams in the top four”.
The Blue Boars are yet to beat the Rams this season but came close last time and are in Duncan’s opinion a much better team than they were then.
As he remarked after their final round win over arch-rivals Moree, they are “coming good at right end of year”.
They do though have a few notable outs for Saturday including number eight Mitch Wheaton and inspirational skipper and half-back Matt Schwager.
Schwager has a wedding but would have most likely been out anyway Duncan said after injuring his hamstring.
There is no question he is a huge loss but Duncan believes his replacement Will Morley is well-equipped to handle the job.
“We lose a little bit of the control that Matt brings and his experience but we gain a real livewire in Will,” Duncan said.
“When he’s got his hands on the ball anything can happen.”
There is a bit more of an element of “playing off the cuff” to his game.
That is true to an extent of the Blue Boars as a whole, their willingness to attack from anywhere a big part of the reason they have won their last seven games and are in this position.
The Rams play a similarly attacking style, and will pose a different threat to the Bulls and Pirates, but Duncan said it won’t really change their approach.
”We’re playing good enough footy. We’re defending well and we can attack from anywhere,” he said.
He said defensively they have really been building through the season, which has “really pushed our game along”.
There is a real confidence and a hunger about their defence, and they have shown a capability to defend for long periods of time.
One thing they have spoken about is their kick-chase.
“You just can’t kick the ball to their back three and not chase well,” Duncan said.
“If you don’t put in a good chase they’ll hurt you from anywhere.”
NARRABRI: 1 Craig Summers, 2 Scott Dale, 3 Beau Brummel, 4 Sam Kahl, 5 Daniel Kahl, 6 Jack Maunder, 7 Matt McDonnell, 8 Pat Brummel, 9 Will Morley, 10 Jydon Hill, 11 Matthew Nott, 12 Jake Packer ©, 13 Jacob Booby, 14 James Albert, 15 Linton Grumley.