Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Narrabri face a huge test when they travel to Tamworth to tackle reigning premiers, North Tamworth, today Jack Woolaston Oval in their Whitehaven Coal Group 4 first grade match.

The Blues haven’t beaten North Tamworth for many seasons but arrive confident of a good showing against the Bears.

“It’s going to be a good test for us,” said Narrabri coach Glenn Collins.

The addition of Hayden Butcher to the Blues is a boost, Collins added.

“He makes a big difference for us.”

He might also switch fullback Jacob Price and halves Cliff Toomey and Chris Hunt during the match.

That Hunt has also played for the Bears makes it sort of “homecoming” for him.

Narrabri’s frontrow of Jeff Harvey, hooker Gus Smith and Cameron King will need to step up against the big Bears pack while lock Sam Sadler has been in great form.

North Tamworth coach Paul Boyce said his side won’t be taking Narrabri lightly.

“We had a tough battle with them out there last year,” he said.

“By the looks of things they are a side that is improving and building into their season. We will be giving them the respect.”

The Bears will be missing Ryley McKay but have named Senirusi Raque as his replacement.

“He’s a pretty handy replacement,” Boyce said.

“He scored two tries on debut for us, is strong in defence and a strong runner of the ball. We’re very happy to have him back.”

Boyce also said the Bear representatives in the Group 4 side gained plenty.

“Tom Woolaston was real good, Sherro (Mitch Sheridan) too. Mitch is one of the most consistent players I’ve seen, Ethan Collins deserved his spot in the G4 side too after two good years. I hope the experience for all of them just helps them raise to a higher level.”

He said the Bears need to improve their form.

“we haven’t been happy with the way we’ve been playing,” he said.

“We seem to keep sides in the game. We’ve spoken about it and had a good session last night. We need to dictate the tempo.”

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