WINS in the next two games should secure Wingham a top three berth going into the Group Three Rugby League semi-finals.
The Tigers will play Old Bar at Wingham on Saturday before heading to Taree next weekend to meet the Bulls in the annual Kristylea Bridge Cup challenge.
“They are two important game for us,’’ Wingham captain-coach Danny Russell said.
“If we can win them both and Wauchope slips up against Port Macquarie this weekend, we could still slip into second.’’
The Tigers will be close to full strength for Saturday’s encounter, with Joel Kleindienst, who is working away, the only absentee.
Utility forward Michael Rees has recovered from a back injury and returns to the pack. Centre Lonny Clarke is also available but will start from the bench. The Tigers will have Brodie Myer and Joel Wilson in the centres.
“Lonny can play just about anywhere, so he gives me a few options from the bench,’’ Russell explained.
Wingham enjoyed the day off with the general bye last weekend but Russell was in the crowd to watch Old Bar go down to Port Macquarie. He’s not reading anything into the performance from the Pirates when they went down to Port Macquarie 36-14.
Wingham’s last outing was little more than a training gallop against Macleay in Kempsey. However, Russell assures they won’t be underdone this weekend.
“You really want week-in-week-out footy, but the break last weekend didn’t do us any harm,’’ he said.
“And we had a pretty good run at training this week, so we’ll be right.’’
Russell was the star of the first round encounter at Old Bar. The former Pirate kicked the winning field goal as Wingham secured a one point victory.
Meanwhile Taree City must defeat Forster-Tuncurry on Sunday at the Harry Elliott Oval at Tuncurry to have any hope of playing finals football this year.
The Bulls look a forlorn hope, as they now need other results to go their way if they’re going to qualify.
Taree plays the Hawks at Tuncurry and Wingham at home before finishing the season with the daunting task of heading to Port Macquarie to meet Port City.
Forster-Tuncurry is already out of the running for a berth in the finals.
Despite the club’s difficult year, coach Phil Adamson indicated to the Times that he is keen to continue in the position in 2019.
Wauchope and Port Macquarie meet in the other Group Three game this weekend.