AFTER three years of football misery on the border, Gundagai captain-coach Cameron Woo is determined to break his bleak streak against Albury at Greenfield Park.
Since leaving Junee to join Gundagai in 2012, Woo has been on the bitter end of five losses to the Thunder in as many games at their formidable fortress.
Heading into another critical clash on Sunday, Woo has set a firm agenda to set the record straight.
“In my time we’ve only beaten them at Anzac Park a couple of times,” Woo said.
“It’d be a massive mental edge for us if we could beat them on Sunday. We couldn’t have a better preparation for the finals than to test ourselves down there.”
In recent years, Albury and Gundagai have developed an intense rivalry, but the Thunder has maintained control.
During Woo’s four years with the Tigers, the two clubs have played 11 times, with Albury building an imposing 8-3 advantage.
Significantly, Gundagai’s three victories have all been at Anzac Park, including a 32-22 success on April 19.
Along the way, the Thunder has also dumped the Tigers twice at Equex Centre, most notably in the 2013 grand final.
This year, Gundagai has turned up the heat on Albury by marching to the minor premiership as the border team has had to fight feverishly to make the finals.
For Albury, the game is a chance to lock down fourth place – and a home elimination final.
The Thunder is currently fourth on the table, but a loss to Gundagai would potentially drop them to fifth position, or even sixth in the most dire of circumstances.
Keeping his head clear, Woo is purely focused on Gundagai’s situation.
“We want to have a strong finish before the finals,” he said. “We just have to worry about ourselves.”
With Gundagai coming off a runaway 44-16 victory over Young last Sunday, Woo admits the team cannot afford to give Albury a head start.
The Tigers were outplayed by Young for most of the first half, but managed to squeeze out an unlikely 12-10 lead by half-time.
Responding to the challenge, however, the Tigers snatched a try on the stroke of half-time to hit the front before reeling off five straight tries to start the second half.
Woo, who is still considering his coaching future, said the Tigers would be at full strength while Albury captain-coach Ben Jeffery has not been named, with Lachie Hampton named at fullback.
Young v Junee at Alfred Park
Southcity v Tumbarumba at Harris Park
Albury v Gundagai at Greenfield Park
Brothers v Cootamundra at Equex Centre
Tumut v Kangaroos at Twickenham
Bye – Temora
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