04 May Injury struggle
The Whites have 20 players on the injury list with some notable losses from the matches against Wests including hooker Carl Elliott and halfback Mitch Douch.
Good news is that maybe Brumbies Les Leulua’aiali’ i-makin and Saia Faingaa may play. Josh White regains his spot at halfback and links with in-form five eighth Danny Matthews.
Matthews attacked the line last week and made plenty of breaks which keeps the opposition guessing. Centre Billy Chalker is benefiting and is playing some of his best rugby.
In the forwards the lock combination of Toby Wilson and Josh Townsend is developing and is the key to the forward pack which at times dominates and then slips away.
A more astute approach to the tactics after penalties are awarded is required. With several attempts at goal turned down the subsequent loss of lineout ball is costly. Wests could have won by one point had their goal kicker converted in the last minute.
Seconds have centre David Kerr back otherwise they have a very settled combination. The halves Ben O’Halloran and Ben Darmody have been on song while Barty and Jordan Cremerius lead a solid eight.
Colts are starting to build a solid side with more players available including Fred Kaihea if he is not required in first grade. He is energetic and combative at the breakdowns. Locks Levi Goodwin-Shaw and Harri Dahl have also run into form.
Thirds and fourths have plenty of talent and this week the return of Lani Tiatia adds to soup.
Lani broke his leg late last year and was at that stage a first grade contender.
It will be a busy day with more than 60 attending the sponsors’ luncheon, the presentation by Pam Sassella of the Pat Matthews Cup and then a theme night to finish.
Games are starting slightly earlier with fourths at 10.30, thirds and colts at 12 noon, seconds at 1.25, a junior match at 2.45 with firsts at 3.05.