North Wagga will be at full-strength for Saturday’s second semi-final as the Saints look to qualify for their first grand final in 14 years.
The Saints will welcome back key forward Daniel Jordan and defender Matt Thomas for Saturday’s blockbuster against Marrar at Maher Oval.
North Wagga coach Kirk Hamblin was pleased to report that his entire squad trained on Tuesday night and will be ready to go for the second semi-final.
Hamblin, James Morris, Troy Curtis and Ned Mortimer all either failed to finish the game or pulled up sore but have been declared certain starters, along with Jordan, who missed last week’s qualifying final win over Temora with an ankle injury.
A win over Marrar on Saturday will put North Wagga through to their first grand final since 2004 and Hamblin admitted the excitement levels are high at McPherson Oval this week.
“Everyone’s very excited,” Hamblin said.
“I said last week that a lot of blokes have gone through hard times at North Wagga early in their career but they’ve matured and we were able to recruit pretty well this year.
“There is a really good vibe around the club and we’re hoping to reward the committee and all the North Wagga people for the work they have put in over the years.”
North Wagga will go into the second semi-final on the back of a confidence-boosting 60-point win over Temora in the qualifying final.
Hamblin said the Saints could not be happier with their form.
“It was probably our best performance for the year,” he said.
“It was one of the only times we’ve had the whole team contribute and that was one of the main driving factors behind the win.
“Not having (Jordan) there gave other guys opportunities and they took those opportunities. It definitely gives us confidence, bringing back in the equal leading goalkicker and a really good big forward.”
Marrar won the most recent encounter between the two teams in the final round at Langtry Oval. The Saints were kept goalless in the second half as the Bombers fought back for an eight-point win.
Hamblin said he will take more out of last week’s win over Temora than the final round loss to Marrar.
“It’s hard to take a lot out of the last game against Marrar, the conditions were pretty hard and it was a tough day for key forwards...so we’ll take out more from the weekend,” he said.
“Marrar, they go all out attack and attack at every chance they get. They take the game on and make the most of their opportunities on the turnover.
“We’ll just concentrate on what we can control but minimising turnovers in our back half will be very important.”