MANNING Ratz have a golden opportunity to secure third place on the Lower North Coast Rugby Union competition ladder in the next fortnight.
The Ratz have opened a three point buffer on Myall Coast in the race for third. Manning meets last placed Old Bar tomorrow at Taree Rugby Park before tackling the Mudcrabs at Tea Gardens next Saturday. Ratz coach Jake Maurirere is confident a brace of wins will ensure the side finishes behind Wallamba and Forster-Tuncurry on the ladder.
Maurirere said the side’s come-from-behind win over Gloucester last week was a great confidence boost.
“Gloucester led 10-0 early and we really had to fight hard to get back into the match,’’ he said.
“Gloucester’s getting a few players back and they look set to make a charge towards the back end of the season. It was a good performance from us.’’
Maurirere has switched centres, James Farrawell and Brodie Howard, with Farrawell now playing the inside role, where his ball distribution can be used to greater impact.
Luke Bartlett, who kicked a couple of pressure penalty goals to help seal the win over Gloucester, will switch to fullback to cover for the unavailable Izaak Solomon.
Maurirere said the Ratz will be looking to secure a bonus point tomorrow to tighten their grip on third place.
“This is a big chance for us,’’ he said.
"We’re looking to go towards the semi-finals with a bit of momentum.’’
Maurirere said the Ratz ground has stood up well to the wet weather and he’s confident the match will go ahead.
Bulls look to continue unbeaten run
WALLAMBA Bulls will be favoured to maintain their unbeaten lead in the Lower North Coast Rugby Union competition tomorrow against Myall Coast Mud Crabs at the “Bull Pen” Aub Ferris Oval in Nabiac.
The Mud Crabs have had a challenging start to the 2017 season, with injuries, travel and player shortages at the last game against Forster-Tuncurry. Despite this the Mud Crabs currently sit in fourth place on the ladder.
After a strong start to the season, the Bulls are sitting at the top of the competition ladder with just over half of the season completed.
The wet weather of the last week promises to test both teams although the muddy field may very well suit the Mud Crabs, however, a break in the weather will almost certainly improve Wallamba’s prospects.
A field inspection today will determine whether the game goes ahead.