Waratahs are looking to put themselves on the front foot to secure third place and a second chance comes finals time.
Currently two points behind Griffith, they have the chance to go around them and into third when the two club’s clash at Conolly Rugby Complex on Saturday.
Given the compact Southern Inland ladder, Saturday’s game is the perfect opportunity for the ‘Tahs to continue their push up the ladder.
Off the back of four straight wins the Wagga club has moved into fourth place, and coach Will Mitchell is looking to continue the good run of form.
“This weekend is huge, for all grades as well," Mitchell said. “We are eyeing off that third spot that Griffith currently in.
"There is only two points between us on the table so we need to get one up on Griffith and this is the weekend to do it.”
With a change to the SIRU finals for this season, second and third play off in the major semi-final while fourth play fifth in the minor semi.
The loser of the major semi gets a second chance and it’s something Mitchell has his sights set on.
“Ideally we’d like to finish third and have a crack at Leeton or Albury, whoever is coming second, then the side (minor premiers) who has just had a week off and go straight into the grand final,” he said.
The Blacks came away with a 43-20 win at home the last time the two teams met but Mitchell believes the personnel changes he’s made have strengthened the team.
Sam Palmer, Euan Bonner, Matt Shortis, Guy McAlister have all come back into the side since the loss.
Mitchell is looking for the team’s defence to stand up again expects a different opponent this time.
“Griffith out at Griffith is a difficult trip,” Mitchell said.
“It’s a long trip and a trip no one really likes to make.
“They’re quite strong at home and the side that played out there is a very different side to what is playing this week with injuries and that sort of thing.
“The depth in the club is stronger so all going well it will be a different result.”
Waratahs are almost at full strength but the Blacks will limp into the game.
Chris Latu is back for the clash but Nick Gleeson (shoulder), Andre Boon (concussion) and Lafa Lale (concussion) are set to miss the Waratahs game.
Matt Vitucci (neck) and Dan Dowson (chest) are also in serious doubt.
The Waratahs will come into the clash with an unchanged team following last week’s 55-13 win over Ag College.
Palmer and Matt Meggison have both been cleared to play after coming off with knee injuries in the second half on Saturday.
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