FORSTER Tuncurry Hawks coach Graeme Jennings has made it perfectly clear to his players just what is on the line in tomorrow evening’s clash with the Wingham Tigers at Wingham.
“It’s a big bonus to host a semi-final and to do that we have to win tomorrow,” Jennings said.
“The number crunchers also tell me that we’re in with a chance for the club championship if we can win all four grades and some results go our way.”
The Hawks currently sit in third spot and with fourth placed Taree City facing competition leaders Wauchope at Wauchope, could secure the all important home final in week one of the playoffs with a win.
“That game (Taree versus Wauchope) could go either way, but we’re not in control of that all we can do is win tomorrow. We’ll have to be on, they’ve got nothing to lose and will throw everything at us.”
Jennings’ starting 13 remains unchanged, a first for season 2012, though it is still missing a few big guns. Matt Hill will be given until game time to make his own decision on whether he will take his place on the interchange bench.
“He’s an experienced bloke, he’ll know if he’s right or if he needs one more week.”
Jennings has rested replacement prop Nat Watts, who’s been carrying a groin injury, and has also left out Corey Shields who is still nursing a knee injury suffered in the loss the Port Macquarie two weeks ago.
“They’ll be right for the finals,” Jennings said.
Luke Vella has earned his maiden first grade jumper, drafted into the top 15 after backing up from the reserve grade match last week.
“Vell’s earned it with consistency,” Jennings said.
“He showed up on day dot, trained hard and has been one of Reggies best week in week out.”
In the other grades, the Under 18s can secure the minor premiership with a win tomorrow and the Ladies League Tag can cement second spot with both teams guaranteed two bites at the finals cherry.
The pressure is off Reserve Grade who will finish fourth regardless of tomorrow’s result, though coach Matt Manning will be keen for his side to take some form into the playoffs.
The matches will follow a full day of junior league at Wingham Sporting Complex, with Ladies League Tag kicking off later than usual at 1.30pm with the first grade clash set for a 4.50pm kickoff.