Wingham and Old Bar to clash in crucial Group Three game

Michael Rees is expected to pack down as hooker for Wingham tomorrow against Old Bar.
Michael Rees is expected to pack down as hooker for Wingham tomorrow against Old Bar.

WINGHAM rugby league coach Stu Baker isn't expecting halfback Mitch Steel to make a comeback from a hamstring strain anytime soon.

Steel limped off early in Wingham's game against Wauchope three weeks ago and missed last Saturday's match against Taree City. He's no chance of lining up tomorrow against Old Bar in the game of the round at the Wingham Sporting Complex.

Adam Kerr successfully deputised for Steel last week and is likely to retain the role tomorrow.

"Mitch has a hamstring strain and an ageing body,'' Baker said.

"I can't see him being right for our next game. I'm hoping he'll be back for the match against Forster in three weeks - that's our best bet.''

Hooker Tyne Owen is also unavailable for tomorrow with Michael Rees expected to remain in the nine jumper.

On a positive note work commitments will allow lock Matt Bartlett to start.

The game will pit third placed Old Bar against Wingham in fourth spot. Both sides will be wary of Port Macquarie as the Sharks are one point shy of the Tigers.

Baker notes that it will be an important game for both sides.

"If Old Bar wins they skip two wins clear and that should just about wrap up third place for them,'' he said.

He added that Old Bar has a superior for and against record than the Tigers.

"So we have to keep winning and take that our of the equation,'' he said.

The first round was a fiery affair with Wingham's bid to cite Old Bar players later foiled by a lack of evidence. However, Baker doesn't believe this will be a factor tomorrow.

"I don't think any teams go into a game with that sort of intent,'' he said.

"Sometimes things just happen.''

Wingham snapped a three round losing streak when beating the Bulls 28-24 last weekend. Old Bar goes into the match on the strength of three successive wins.