BATHURST Bulldogs and Forbes Platypi matches have never failed to disappoint, and coach Dean Oxley is expecting another close encounter come Saturday's Blowes Cup match.
In recent years, the margin between the two teams come full-time tend to be close and their match last month was the epitome of the fixture, Bulldogs scoring a try after the siren to secure a 31-24 victory.
While Forbes is languishing in fifth place on the ladder, six points outside a finals spot, Oxley is expecting a tough match against the Platypi at Ann Ashwood Park.
"The recent history between these two clubs has only had a couple of points in it," he said.
"We had a good win against Forbes up there earlier this year, coming from behind, basically after the siren. We're not expecting anything different this week.
"They've got a strong side and there's a strong rivalry. But there's a great respect. We had a wonderful evening catching up with Forbes, which is always the case."
While Forbes are fifth, the Platypi are the only team to defeat ladder leaders Cowra Eagles this season, which is no mean feat.
"Forbes is the only team to have beaten Cowra," Oxley said.
"I spoke to Mahe [Fangupo] at one of the Central West training sessions and he said they probably got ahead of themselves after that victory. They had expectations, and still do, at winning the competition.
"It's quite an interesting competition because on the day, anyone can get a result. We're not expecting anything different this weekend, with Forbes coming down."
Oxley said it will be crucial for his team to stick to playing as a team on Saturday, something that got away from the Bulldogs in last week's 34-23 loss to Cowra.
"It'll be a really tough game and they've got three Central West players. Outside of that, they've got a number of players that are well and truly at that representative level, available for selection," he said.
"They've got a really strong team across the park, a very strong scrum and a very good backline.
"We need to play a lot better then what we did against Cowra. They ended up using their dominant pack to get the job done and Forbes will try and play a similar game.
"They'll play a very physical game through their forwards, finishing off their backline. It's all about whether we'll play our football.
"That's what I'm looking forward to this weekend, that is the Bulldogs playing their football and not be consumed by the opposition."
Play between Bathurst Bulldogs and Forbes Platypi is set to get underway from 3.15pm at Ann Ashwood Park.
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