Old Bar Pirates must improve defence

IMPROVING their defensive pattern will be the number one priority for Old Bar Pirates going into the Group Three Rugby League game against unbeaten Wauchope tomorrow at Wauchope.

"We can score tries,'' captain-coach Danny Russell said.

"But we have to stop them from scoring.''

He pointed out the Pirates have a number of new faces in the team this year. While they've clicked pretty well in attack, he concedes there is some work to do in defence.

"Just little things, like the markers talking to each other,'' he said.

The Pirates delayed naming the side until training last night, Russell saying there are a number of injury issues in the forwards, including the entire starting front row from last Sunday against Wingham.

However, he said the backs should be unchanged from the side that went down to Wingham 42-34.

Here the Pirates hit back from trailing 20-6 at one stage to hit the lead momentarily in the second half.

This was also the first game of the season for five-eighth Nathan Maher and Aden Avery, who played halfback in Russell's absence.

Russell will also miss the game as he recovers from an ankle injury.

"I'm 50-50 on whether I'll be right for next week,'' he said. "I've never played at Wauchope so I was looking forward to it.''

The Blues sit a point shy of Macleay Valley on the ladder. They had to work hard to overcome Taree City last week, but did have six players backing up from the group game played the previous day.