GAIN two, lose one.
That's been Wingham Rugby League Club's week.
The Tigers welcomed quality imports Jarom Haines and Josh Griffiths into the fold last week, with the Newcastle-based duo playing their debuts in last Sunday's 20-20 draw with Macleay Valley.
However, this was tempered by the loss of centre Matt Bridge for the remainder of the season. Bridge ruptured his pec muscle during the match and underwent surgery this week.
He was in his comeback year after missing 2021 while he recovered from knee reconstruction surgery after injuring his knee in the 2020 Lower North Coast Rugby Union grand final when playing for Manning Ratz. The Group Three competition was in recess that year due to COVID.
The Tigers will meet Old Bar at the Wingham Sporting Complex tomorrow in a game deferred from May 22.
Apart from Bridge they'll also be without two key forwards, Aaron Groom and Nick Beacham who are both unavailable. This will cause a shuffle in the forward rotation.
Harry Lewis will switch from five-eighth to fill Bridge's spot.
"With Bridgie gone for the year Harry's happy to take on the utility back role,'' captain-coach Mitch Collins explained.
Haines and Griffiths were both strong against the Mustangs and according to Collins they'll only improve as they have more games with the side.
"Jarom has a great kicking game,'' Collins enthused.
"That's something we've been lacking.''
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This will be Wingham's first home game of the year and they'll also be at Wingham next week against Taree City and on June 25 for the match against Forster-Tuncurry.
"We need to win those three games,'' Collins emphasised.
"It's a final four now so we have to get points on the board, we can't afford to drop too far behind.''
The Tigers showed plenty of resolve to hit back from a 20-4 deficit last week against the Mustangs. Collins pointed out that the Mustangs usually go on with the job when they enjoy that big a lead on their home track. He added the sin binning of the Macleay captain-coach during the second half proved to be the pivotal point in the encounter.
Collins understands that the Pirates are having problems with injuries and player unavailability (see report page 29).
But he expects the visitors to field a strong side regardless.
"Expect to see some miraculous recoveries,'' he said.
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