WINGHAM coach Stu Baker has called on the match officials to ensure tomorrow's Group Three Rugby League game at the Jack Neal Oval against Taree City is controlled like a regular first grade match.
The teams will be playing for the Kristylea Bridge Charity Cup with the day to be a fundraiser for Can Assist. Former North Sydney and Parramatta utility back Michael Buettner will make a one-off guest appearance for the Bulls.
Last year Matt Adamson joined his brother Phil in Taree's lineup when the Bulls held off a late rally from Wingham to score a win. As was the case last season, Phil Adamson is Taree's coach. He's not playing tomorrow
"I just hope the officials don't turn it into a charity day for Michael Buettner like they did for Phil and Matt last year,'' Baker said.
Baker was one Wingham's training staff for last year's match.
"I ran the water. Phil and Matt were allowed to lie in the ruck all game and slow down the play-the-ball,'' Baker said.
Wingham currently sit in fifth place, just two clear of Port City although the Breakers don't play this weekend, which is the second week of a split round.
"This is an extremely important game for us,'' Baker emphasised.
"It has to be refereed as a regular competition match.''
The Tigers go into the match after three successive losses that has seen them slump from third to fifth. They trail Port Macquarie by two. The Sharks also aren't playing this weekend.
Wingham will have lock Matt Bartlett back but he'll be the only player from their Newcastle contingent making the trip. Halfback Mitch Steel strained a hamstring last match against Wauchope while hooker Tyne Owen is unavailable through work commitments.
"It's good to have 'Barto' back,'' Baker said.
"Hopefully he'll be 100 per cent fit and raring to go.''
However, he wasn't sure who would replace Steel or Owen. Hooker Adam Kerr has recovered from a calf muscle injury and he'll come into the side, Baker is toying with the idea of playing him at seven.
Baker saw some positive signs in the loss to Wauchope where the Blues scored two late tries to seal the match. Baker claimed his side copped a couple of 'dodgy calls' late in the game to slow their momentum.
He added that the Bulls will be fired up for the game. A win would give the Bulls a chance to climb out of the competition cellar.
"It's like most games these days, the team that controls the ball usually wins.''