Todd Barrow wants Bathurst Panthers to make a strong start away from home

SWITCHING on early and improved completion rates – that is what Bathurst Panthers coach Todd Barrow wants to see from his men in this Sunday’s Group 10 premier league match against Lithgow Workies.

TIME TO WORKIES: Panthers coach Todd Barrow wants his men to have an improved completion rate in Sunday's match against Lithgow. Workies will hold the home ground advantage for the match. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

TIME TO WORKIES: Panthers coach Todd Barrow wants his men to have an improved completion rate in Sunday's match against Lithgow. Workies will hold the home ground advantage for the match. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

Though Barrow’s Panthers impressed in dropping just one game through the first full round of fixtures, he knows that there are aspects of the men in black’s performances which still need work.

Last Saturday’s match against Orange Hawks, which Panthers won 38-28, highlighted two of those areas.

“We made it hard on ourselves .. we didn’t start the best but we came home good,” he said.

“We’ve just got to hang onto the ball. There were a lot of errors in that first half and Hawks were really good too, especially the first 20 minutes of each half. I think they were eight from eight in their sets in the second half.”

Panthers head into Sunday’s match at Tony Luchetti as the hot favourites, but Barrow is not underestimating a Workies side which has only managed two wins thus far.

Though Panthers bettered Workies 40-12 in round one, the Lithgow outfit is notoriously harder to beat on its home turf.

“They’re always a lot tougher at home, so we are expecting a tough game on the weekend. We are looking forward to playing them down there, they always grow a leg down there,” Barrow said.

“I think both teams would’ve improved a lot since [that first game]. Being the first round you can’t really take a lot out of that game, so we are going to have to turn up on Sunday.

“Lithgow’s strength has always been up the middle – it has been for as long as I can remember – and we’ll expect nothing different. I’m pretty sure that’s where they’ll want to play the game, but we’ve just got to keep worrying about ourselves and make sure we turn up.”

Panthers will be missing playmaker Doug Hewitt once more this Sunday due to a shoulder complaint, so Joey Bugg will start as halfback. Kick-off is at 1.30pm.