FORSTER-Tuncurry players are preparing for the club's biggest game in recent years when the Hawks tackle Port Macquarie in the Group Three Rugby League match at Tuncurry on Sunday.
The Hawks are currently fourth. Wins in the next two encounters, against the Sharks on Sunday and Wauchope at Wauchope the following weekend, would elevate them to third on the ladder.
However, losses in both could see Forster drop to sixth. Port Sharks sit in fifth spot, two shy of Forster. The Sharks play Wingham at Port in the final match.
Port City's currently sixth on nine points, but would be expected to win the final two games against Taree City and Old Bar.
"We've got ourselves in a good position and if we win on Sunday we can finish third. It's a big game,'' Forster coach Phil Adamson said.
The Hawks are generally considered the surprise packets of the season, although Adamson doesn't see it that way.
"I knew we had a good team and I said at the start that if we won all our home games and a few away, we'd finish third. As it's turned out we've lost a couple at home, but picked up others away.''
North Coast under 23 representative Riley Glover has been named at hooker subject to a doctor's clearance. Riley was replaced late in the game against Old Bar after sustaining a head knock although he trained strongly on Tuesday night.
Keda Moylan returns from a shoulder injury and Adamson will start him in the centres, where he'll partner Jake Collins. Beau Lowry has been named on the wing.
"Corey (Eason) is playing good and he deserves to stay at fullback. I want Keda to get a bit more ball and be closer to AJ (halfback Adrian Davis),'' Adamson said.
Davis swung the match Forster's way last weekend when it appeared the Pirates were taking control and Adamson agreed he's the player who can steer the Hawks into the playoffs.
The Hawks welcome Matt Kirkland back into the pack and he'll come up against his brother, Ben, the captain-coach of the Sharks.
"Kirky will be good for us. He keeps it sane when things are going crazy in the middle,'' Adamson said.
"Luke Ross played 80 minutes last week and he's over the hamstring problem, so that's another plus.''
This will be Forster's last home game for the season and the club will conduct the annual Close the Gap round.
This is to raise awareness for the Close the Gap campaign that aims to narrow the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Islanders and non-indigenous Australians.
The four grades will be wearing an Indigenous-themed strip sponsored by Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Service.
The Sharks scored a strong 20-4 win over Wauchope last week.
In other Group Three games this weekend Wingham hosts Old Bar, minor premiers Macleay Valley plays Wauchope and Taree City heads to Port Macquarie to meet Port City.