Manning Ratz and Forster to clash in top-of-the-table rugby match

MANNING Ratz will need to break Forster-Tuncurry's 10 match winning streak if they are a chance of finishing minor premiers in the Lower North Coast Rugby Union competition this season.

The second placed Ratz meet the Dolphins on Saturday at Taree Rugby Park.

With four games remaining the Ratz trail Forster by four points.

Ratz coach Danial Stone agreed that his side must win tomorrow if they are going to be any chance of winning the minor premiership and hosting the major semi-final.

Forster has won both clashes against the Ratz this season. The second was a 71-17 mauling at Tuncurry.

"We had the wrong attitude going into that game,'' Stone said.

"We went out there thinking we just had to turn up to win.''

However, Stone is confident that the Ratz won have any lingering mental scars from the encounter.

Of more concern is the fact that the Ratz will be without two forwards tomorrow - second row/prop Jake Campbell and prop Wayne Gahan. Stone said that Gahan usually plays the 80 minutes and his absence will be felt.

He's out as the game clashes with a junior rugby league semi-final involving the team he coaches.

The Ratz also haven't enjoyed a great preparation leading to the match. Manning's last game was a thrashing of Old Bar while there was a general bye last week.

"We're not getting any hard rugby,'' Stone said.

"That was a problem last time we played Forster.''

He said the Ratz will have to 'get in the faces' of Forster's tight five while be mindful of the damage five-eighth Matt Nuki can cause, particularly close to the line.

But whatever the result tomorrow Stone said the Ratz emphasis is on the major semi-final to be played on Saturday September 6.

"We're 14 points clear of Wallamba so for them to get in front of us they'd have to win every game and we'd have to lose them all. That's not going to happen,'' Stone said.

Stone rates this Forster side as superior to the one that won the premiership last year.

"But then again I think we're a better team too. We had more experience last year when we had blokes like Chad (Lambert) and Wilso (Pete Wilson. We're a raw side but the talent's there,'' he added.

Manning Ratz will be without front rower Wayne Gahan for Saturday's clash with Forster-Tuncurry at Taree Rugby Park.

Manning Ratz will be without front rower Wayne Gahan for Saturday's clash with Forster-Tuncurry at Taree Rugby Park.

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