GROUP Nine All Stars assistant coach Adam Hall has not written off the team’s chances of breaking a four-year losing streak in the Reconcilliation Cup in Albury on Saturday.
Hall said on Friday an interrupted build-up had put the Group Nine All Stars on the back foot, but he remains optimistic of the team toppling the Indigenous All Stars.
“I’m fairly confident we can go close to beating them,” Hall said.
“We (Group Nine All Stars) haven’t had a perfect preparation, but we’ll still be right in it.”
Plagued by personnel problems this week, the Group Nine All Stars line-up is yet to be finalised, with a training session on Saturday morning to settle the dust.
“A few blokes just weren’t able to commit to play for various reasons,” he said.
“We’ve had a few changes.”
Amid the selection turmoil, the odds have lengthened of the Group Nine All Stars ending their drought in the annual pre-season game.
After thrashing the Indigenous All Stars 24-10 in 2010, the Group Nine team has slumped to four straight losses in the Reconcillation Cup, including a slender 18-16 failure last year.
Previously, the Indigenous All Stars trumped Group Nine 36-22 in 2011 and 26-18 and 20-18 in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
“I know the Group Nine side hasn’t won since I’ve been down here (in Wagga),” Hall said on Friday.
“It’d be good to break the run.”
Significantly, Hall will only play if the Group Nine team is short on numbers.
“I’ll play if I’m needed,” he said.
“The game is only two 25 minute halves, so I’ll play it by ear.”
Hall, who is assistant to head coach Nick Skinner, is adamant the Group Nine All Stars pack will have to set the foundation for a victory on Saturday.
“We’ve got the right guys to really make an impression,” Hall said.
“I wouldn’t right us off.”
With Skinner to lead the charge, Group Nine will also rely on Luke Berkrey, Jordan Shepherd, Andrew Cowhan, Trent King and Jon Huggett to take the sting out of the Indigenous team.
Cowhan and Huggett are among a large contingent of Albury-based players in both teams for the Lavington Sportsground promotion.
Played on the undercard to the Sea Eagles-Raiders NRL blockbuster, the All Stars game on Saturday is unlikely to be used a selection trial for the Group Nine team to play Group 20 for the Kelly Cup on May 3.
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