THE brothers Howard - Blake up front and Brody in the centres - could hold the key to Manning Ratz upsetting minor premiers Wallamba in the Lower North Coast Rugby Union grand final to be played at Nabiac tomorrow.
Club president Steve Rees said the Howards have been 'massive this year'.
Blake works in rotation with steamrolling captain-coach Dave Rees and provides the go forward.
"He's back after a couple of years off and he's better than ever. What's more he's keeping a cool head. Blake and Dave can lay the platform for us,'' Rees said.
"Our forwards are our strength and we'll be looking to play through the middle,'' Rees continued.
Brody is the 'most devastating ball runner' in the competition according to Rees. He has the ability to scatter defensive patterns and the Ratz will be looking to get him quick, clean ball tomorrow.
The prospect of a heavy track doesn't concern the Ratz, Rees added as he believes they hold the ascendancy in the forwards.
While acknowledging the Bulls deserve favouritism, Rees said the Ratz are confident of bringing the premiership trophy home with them.
Our forwards are out strength and we'll be looking to play through the middle- Ratz president Steve Rees outlines the game plan
The Ratz are the defending premiers, having won the last grand final played in the competition in 2020 when they beat Wallamba.
Last season's grand final became of victim of the State lockdown and was eventually cancelled. The Ratz and Forster Dolphins were due to meet in the decider at Taree Rugby Park.
"We were the minor premiers last year so as far as I'm concerned, we've been premiers for the past two season,'' Rees said.
The Bulls only lost one game in the competition-proper and that was to the Ratz.
Given that only three sides contested the season and the Forster Dolphins struggled for player numbers, it was hard for teams to get any momentum.
Free running Wallamba five-eighth Chris Tout looms as a problem for the Ratz and Rees conceded he can cause trouble if he gets into space.
"But we'll be running plenty of traffic at him,'' he added.
"We won't die wondering.''
A bus for supporters will leave the Taree Railway Bowling Club tomorrow at 11.30.
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