NORTH Wagga co-coach Nathan Dowdle wants a big performance from the Saints on Saturday to prove they are among the competition’s elite.
The Saints enjoyed a fruitful recruitment campaign over the off-season to compliment last year’s finals appearance.
North Wagga hopes to be among the premiership contenders this season but were embarrassed by East Wagga-Kooringal on Anzac Day by 77 points.
They responded with a 165-point shellacking of Barellan last weekend but Dowdle believes a strong performance against the Magpies on Saturday will prove they belong in the top echelon of teams.
“Definitely, we need to redeem ourselves against quality opposition and find out where we’re at,” Dowdle said.
“We need our older players to impose themselves on the game in the first quarter and set the example for the younger blokes and go from there.”
TRYC will travel to McPherson Oval on the back of an impressive win over Temora last Saturday.
The Magpies’ form has been brilliant early, bar a second half fade out against Marrar.
Dowdle has placed a big emphasis on putting pressure on TRYC.
“We’ve definitely got to go with them,” he said.
“If they want to play a fast running game, then it’s about applying pressure on their efficiency when they’re moving the ball forward.”
Dowdle has seen the Magpies play once and rates the opposition highly.
“It’s massive, but we’re really looking forward to the test that’s for sure,” he said.
“They’re a quality side, I’ve seen them play, they’ve got good movement of the footy and they’re only going to get better as the year goes on.”
North Wagga will be without key defender David Karlberg, who injured his groin in the win over Barellan.
Ben Lucas is also in doubt and will be assesses at training on Thursday night.
Lachie Gaffney and Mitch Mullins are available for selection after missing last week.
TRYC has imposing forwards Andy Carey and Mitch Ward firing up forward.
Alex Hay will get the job on Carey, while youngster Brayden Skeers will play on Ward.
Dowdle said it will be a team effort.
“We spoke about this at training, while those boys have got to play their role down back, it’s the guys up the ground that need to apply pressure as well,” he said.
Dowdle is coaching from the bench this year as he recovers from a knee reconstruction.
He said he is enjoying the role, while wanting to be out there at the same time.
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