WINGHAM coach Stu Baker believes his five-eighth Matt Bridge should have been the first player picked in the Group Three Rugby League representative side this year.
Bridge was a member of the Group Three squad last season. He's been named on the bench for the May 17 clash against Group Two. Baker believes he is ready to make his mark in representative football this year. He is now settled in the halves with the Tigers and played solidly in the season opener against Port Macquarie.
Wingham meet premiers Wauchope on Sunday at Wauchope.
While his players are still on a high after an impressive 42-22 win against the Sharks last weekend, Baker knows this assignment will be more difficult.
"It's been a long time since Wauchope has been beaten at Wauchope,'' he said.
The Tigers downed the Blues in the Group Three pre-season, however, Wauchope had Robbie Trembath, Dean Hurrell and Aaron Isson watching from the sidelines on that occasion.
"Still, winning form is good form,'' Baker said.
Lock Matt Bartlett will miss the game after injuring a leg muscle leading into last weekend's match against Port. Baker revealed that Bartlett would probably have been out anyway through work commitments. He'll be travelling from Newcastle to play but Baker said Bartlett won't be available each week because of work.
"We'll have him for four or five games and then hopefully the semi-finals if we make them,'' he said.
Tim Watson comes into the first grade squad for Bartlett, with Michael Rees moving from the bench into the pack.
Baker wants his side to be more clinical this week if they are going to down the premiers.
"We pushed a few passes last week and that could have invited them back into the game,'' he said.
"So we have to be clinical and cut down the errors. That's the way teams win tight games.''