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Baa Baas and Albies yet to peak

By Sam Piddington
29 April 2016
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written by Samantha Newsam Northern Daily Leader 29th April 2016


BARBARIANS and St Alberts will both be looking to rectify elements of their game when they clash at Bellevue Oval tomorrow in a blockbuster finish to what has been a topsy- turvy first round.

No one side has been able to stamp their authority on the competition, with Albies, Armidale, Barbarians and Robb all knocking each other off.

“This is really the barometer for where we are at,” Albies co-coach Tom Newsome said.

They are coming off what looks a convincing win over Glen Innes last week (68-15), but it was anything but in the first half.

They were down 10-nil at one stage but fought back late to lead into the break.

Newsome said they can’t afford to repeat that tomorrow.

They won’t have that luxury against what he said is obviously “a very capable side”, and one that is strong across the park.

“They’ve obviously got a good forward pack, but then they’ve got dangerous players out wide as well,” he said.

He said Robb beating them last week was encouraging.

Being student sides, the two share a lot of similarities in the way they play.

Their focus though is very much on their own game and what they need to do.

“Initially we have to be able to dominate,” Newsome said.

“And if our game isn’t working we need to be able to adjust.”

The key to that dominance he spoke of is possession – not just getting it but being able to maintain it.

“The team with the ball generally sets the pace,” he said.

“We’ve been winning good ball this year through the set pieces.”

“Yoni (Yoni Meron) comes back in. That will add a bit to our breakdown play.”

On the flip side they will be missing dangerous fullback Dan Sweeney.

Jacob Booby shifts back there, with Harry Webber pushing into the centres.

Webber moved to 13 midway through the game last week and was great there.

Baa Baas head coach Tom Bower said last week showed how close the competition is.

And there were plenty of positives for them.

“We were really happy with the effort and we were really happy with how we finished the game,” he said.

Like Albies, their focus has been on their own game and fixing the areas where they fell down in last week.

“We just sat down and discussed what type of game plan we need to play to get the right result this time,” Bower said.

Central to that is setting a good platform.

“Not too much change other than us making sure we’ve got the platform right in the forwards,” he said.

He thought they did that quite well last week but just with a few changes in the backline it didn’t infiltrate right through.

In defence it’s about being “very desperate”.

The other game tomorrow will see Armidale hosting Robb.

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