Temora coach Jake Wooden has demanded his players 'make a statement' against The Rock-Yerong Creek on Saturday, labelling last week's loss at Coleambally the worst they've played this season.
While declaring Coleambally's performance very impressive, Wooden was scathing about the response from his Kangaroos, believing his players didn't pay the Blues the respect they deserved.
"It was disappointing," Wooden said.
"I suppose we didn't give them enough respect... they played really good. I don't think they could've played any better, to be honest.
"But it was our worst game of the year. One of those days when we all played bad, it wasn't just one or two. We all dropped our bundle."
There were some excuses, with midfielder Sam Jensen and key forward Jacob Turner withdrawing with illness on the morning of the match. They return against the Magpies on Saturday along with defender Nathan Stimson, although ruckman Chris Stacey is again unavailable.
His absence last week gave new signing Joseph Tegart a rude welcome, flying solo for his first game at the club.
"It was hard because Rex was away and straight away he was thrown in the deep end. I think he'll be good for us with a few more games as he gets to know the playing group. We probably didn't use him as best we could but he did some good things and he's got a good leap on him," Wooden said.
Six games out from the finals, he wants to see Temora string consistently good wins together. Early in the year, they won three in a row but the form was patchy. Their best form was a month ago when a luckless loss at North Wagga was followed by a big win against East Wagga-Kooringal.
Since then, Wooden said they've played only one good quarter of football in both the win over Charles Sturt University and in their loss to Coleambally.
The Roos sit fourth, below the Hawks on percentage, and the pressure at the top of the ladder is as fierce as for those teams below.
"It was frustrating because with the ladder being as tight as it is, every game's vital," Wooden said.
"We want to stay in that top three. We're not in the top three at the moment and against teams below us we want to be winning and winning well.
"We had a few key players not playing last week but I still think we're better than what we dished up. Much better.
"I've put the heat right on my boys to respond this week, to come out and make a statement."
Colby Poole is in doubt with a rib injury. He was a key contributor in the win at The Rock earlier in the year, when Wooden himself pulled the win out of the fire with four crucial goals to stave off a valiant Magpies.
TRYC last week booted 13 goals in their loss to Marrar and will be desperate to stay in touch with the five.