After copping a battering last weekend, the Dubbo Kangaroos have been called on to stand up and take the fight to the Cowra Eagles in Saturday’s final round of the Blowes Clothing Cup season.
The Roos were undefeated at home before the competition-leading Orange Emus scored a dominant 41-5 win at No. 1 Oval last time out.
On Saturday, the Roos travel to Cowra to take on an Eagles side which needs a win to keep its slim hopes of finals rugby alive.
Roos coach Dean Matthews knows his side is in for a stern test at the Eagles’ Nest but he wants to see his players bounce back from last week’s disappointing loss.
“Players 1-15 need to stand up,” he said.
“I think, like (captain) Shaun McHugh said last week, we were soft so we need to stand up and take the fight to these guys because they’ve got plenty to play for and we’ve got just as much to play for.
“Like I said earlier in the season, you want to keep winning so your fate is in your own hands.”
Matthews added it would be hard to do but his side needed to put last weekend’s result behind it.
“To Emus’ credit they are a good side and they dominated us in every aspect of the game,” he said.
“So if we want to change that it starts this weekend at Cowra.”
The Roos need a win this weekend to guarantee themselves a top three finish.
Last round’s loss saw the side leapfrogged by the Forbes Platypi into second spot while the Bathurst Bulldogs are just one point back in fourth.
The Platypi are favoured to beat the Dubbo Rhinos in the final round while Bulldogs take on the undefeated Emus at Orange.
“I think we’ve got to treat this as do-or-die,” Matthews said.
“Bulldogs are capable of scoring an upset so you don’t want to be relying on other sides and have your fate is someone else’s hands.”
A top three finish would ensure Matthews’ side two bites at the cherry while the teams in fourth and fifth meet in an elimination semi in week one of finals.
The Roos head into Saturday’s match without Will Chaffey, Tom Sheridan and Jock Brownhill.
Colts Charlie Lawry and Patty Berryman return to the front row scrumhalf respectively while Sam Clements starts after being one of few players to impress when coming off the bench against Emus.
Cowra heads into Saturday’s final round clash in sixth spot.
The men in red and white have produced a strong second half of the year but need a win over the Roos and hope Orange City is stunned by a battling Parkes Boars outfit to finish in fifth spot.
“They got their points back in the middle of the season so they’ve had plenty to play for and we never really have an easy trip to Cowra,” Matthews said.
“They’ll be fancying their chances of beating us.”
Cowra scored a convincing road win last weekend, trouncing cellar dwellers CSU 43-19.
Saturday’s match at Cowra kicks off at 3.15pm.
- DUBBO KANGAROOS: 1 Johnny Mafiti, 2 Ned Williams, 3 Charlie Lawry, 4 Sam Clements, 5 Monty Hicks, 6 Simon Hegarty, 7 Hamish Smith, 8 Shaun McHugh ©, 9 Patty Berryman, 10 Brad Pugh, 11 Hamish Gordon, 12 Sione Lolohea, 13 Billy Sing, 14 Viliame Turuva, 15 Luke Ryan