Albury’s hopes of salvaging its season have received a boost with classy Kiwi Shannon Rupapere to play in the top grade against Young on Sunday.
Rupapere has played the past two games in reserves.
“(He’ll make a) massive (difference), he’s an experienced player and it frees up ‘Purty’ (coach Adrian Purtell) to control his edge, instead of trying to run the whole park,” second-rower Jon Huggett said.
“Shannon will be really good, he’s also a good defender as well.”
The Thunder have been forced to play a number of halves, due to injury.
Huggett says the club must win its next three games to remain alive.
“Yeah definitely, we were hoping to go in at five-three, but the best we can do now is four-four, that will keep us in the running for finals hopefully,” he said.
The Thunder sits three wins out of the top four and plays three bottom sides prior to the June long weekend.
The next two are at home, so wins are imperative.
The Thunder boasts just the one win, but has suffered three losses of 10 points or less.
“We just need to play more direct,” Huggett said of his team’s attack.
“We start to get a bit excited when we get a roll on and we start throwing the ball around and that’s where most of our mistakes come from.
“If we just keep a cool head and we keep in the grind, we should come through.”
Young remains winless after five rounds, with Temora and Kangaroos (one-four apiece) to follow before the second round starts.