Gunnedah will be looking to clip another Rams outfit when they tackle Barraba at Barraba on Saturday.
The Red Devils are coming off their biggest win of the season – a 27-19 triumph over last years grand finalists Walcha, and coach Jason Waerea said the belief amongst the squad is high.
“They are asking questions of themselves and focusing on their attitude and expectation and enjoying their rugby,” he said.
Barraba won’t be an easy assignment though.
They never are at home, and are travelling well at the moment after knocking off the Rams and Inverell in successive weeks.
Incidentally the margin between them and Walcha was also eight points.
The belief amongst the squad is very high. They are asking questions of themselves and focusing on their attitude and expectation and enjoying their rugby- Jason Waerea
Waerea has again had to reshuffle the pack with number eight Sanimo Navatu, second rower Matt Neilson and back rower/second rower Nick Lyons unavailable. Winger Nathan Tavaga is also out.
On the plus side they welcome back Jono Madden, Kurtis Bont and Brad Swain.
Waerea said the changes in the forwards will give them a lighter more mobile pack, and added that in light of the changes they need to focus on their field systems and wait for that to open up opportunities for the backline.
The defensive effort against the Rams was the best Waerea has seen the Red Devils produce and he spoke about needing to maintain that.
Especially in the backs with Waerea viewing the Barraba backs as their strength.
They scored all of their tries against the Highlanders, and similarly against Walcha.
“They can score points so the backline defence is critical,” he said.
“(But) I prefer to focus on controlling our possession and taking theirs at the set pieces. That gives less opportunities and stresses their effectiveness and gives us more ball in hand.”
Currently sitting in fourth, just behind Barraba, and with only a game remaining in the first round, it is an important game as far as the finals for the Red Devils.
”Every game is critical for the teams outside of one and two,” Waerea said.
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